Paranoid??....no, I think mis-informed
Well.. there are regulations and policies to hire H1B people. There is a minimum
pay stipulated by INS. Even the H1 process requires the companies to file for Labor Clearence Approval
which essentially states there are no locally available people( including citizens ) who can do this job
As Julie McCarthy has observed, it is a pain to bring in H1B people and
even more painful to maintain the paperwork. It is a lot of responsibility you are shouldering if you bring someone from outside the country and tell the government you need him/her to get the job done. Remember this responsibility is something more than just paying the person once in a month. Naturally a lot of employers just don't want to get into this mess and they are afraid of lawsuits or other legal problems.
You also got it wrong about the 'peanuts' salary. I am a H1B immigrant myself and I have been working in the US and let me tell you when I came to US four years ago, my starting salary was above average
when compared to standards in the US IT industry. In the past four years, my pay has risen by about 120% and I now earn a six-figure. This only shows how inevitable it is for the companies in the US to take help from Immigrant workforce. Infact, if you think about it, the root of the problem is in the education system in the US. Compared to what is taught in the schools in China or India( from where 80% of the immigrants are pouring in ), the level of education in the US is substandard
. A lot of my friends who have kids spend their evening teaching them math and science because they feel what is taught in the schools is totally inadequate. If the US wants to encourage home-grown talent to take up high-tech jobs, they should probably start from the school system. If you have not already read the provisions of the new bill, it allows a part of the revenue to the government flowing in from the increased H1B fees to be used to set up new Math and Science grants for various Univiersities in the US.
Having said these things, I should also tell you the life of a H1B worker is not all that green and glamourous. Every year INS shuts down dozens of 'sweatshops' which bring in foreign workers and abuse them. Not physical abuse, but treating them as dispensable resources, not paying them what they promised before!!. Infact INS even takes action against companies which replaces a local person( American citizen ) with a foreign worker.
To summarise, I feel your inferences about H1B workers or the new bill that was passed recently are not accurate. INS is an American
organization and they do protect the interests of American citizens
. Today the US is witnessing a tremendous growth in the high-technology area and they need help from outside to meet the demand. While the politicians are yielding to pressure from the IT-lobby, they are planning for the long-term. They all want to see more and more US citizens to compete and take up these jobs, and they are working towards this goal. I won't be surprised if five years from now this law gets scrapped!
I hope I have made clear some of the facts
about the H1B scenario.
Good luck with your job search!!
Anonymous H1B worker