The computer industry, in all of its myriad of forms, has found a way to legally discriminate against the employment of U.S. citizens in their own country : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

For educational purposes only

Monday, September 4, 2000

Why Clinton should veto 'H1-B' By Vernon M. Briggs Jr./Guest Columnist

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The sad but informative letter of the Jesse Fern (Aug. 26 "Software labor shortage") is right on target. The H1-B visa program is a fraud. It is not intended to fill a shortage of computer programmers. Its purpose is to supply a greedy industry with cheap workers who cannot be bid away in what is supposed to be a competitive labor market.

As Fern's letter indicates, as long as this phony program is allowed to exist, very few U.S. citizens will ever be hired. The computer industry, in all of its myriad of forms, has found a way to legally discriminate against the employment of U.S. citizens in their own country.

The H1-B program allows U.S. firms to hire foreign nationals on temporary visas for up to six-year periods of time. During this time, the foreign workers are under contract to the U.S. employer and may not quit in response to any offer from a competitor. They are essentially indentured servants. Their only option, if dissatisfied with their employer or life in America, is to return to their homeland.

In its present manifestation, the H1-B visa was created by the Immigration Act of 1990. It is supposed to be a way to admit workers for employment in "specialty organizations" where there are "temporary shortages" of U.S. workers until the nation's education and training system can respond by providing sufficient job applicants.

The numbers of visas was originally capped at 65,000 a year. In 1998, at the insistence of the computer industry, the cap was almost doubled to 115,000 a year. Pending in Congress at this very moment is a proposal to almost double the number again to 200,000 visas a year.

As it has evolved over the past 10 years, the H1-B program has been converted from being a worker recruitment program of last resort to one of first preference and almost exclusive use.

There is no effective check made by the under-staffed and under-funded Department of Labor that is responsible for verifying the assertion of the industry that they cannot find "qualified" applicants.

The industry needs only "attest" to the fact that a shortage exists in order to have visas issued to people from various less economically developed countries (e.g., India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Eastern Europe, Russia) to fill in the openings.

As a consequence, the computer industry has been able to recruit programmers to work at wage levels considerably below what comparably trained workers in the U.S. feel are justified for investing in such a career. Moreover, as Mr. Fern's letter testified, the employers are now requiring several years of prior experience work to be hired.

Workers in Third World nations are willing to work for these low wages (which are higher than they receive in their homelands) and they already have the requisite years of work experience. As a consequence, few young Americans are even considered should they apply for any of the jobs that the industry is required by law to advertise.

Moreover, as the industry is able to keep H1-B workers for up to six years, there is no fear that the supposedly free market will cause wages to rise in response to competition as the industry expands.

Likewise, as more and more Americans like Mr. Fern realize that they are not wanted despite all the hype about the need for more programmers, there will be more claims by the industry that American workers are unavailable to meet their demand. But such a consequence is entirely a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One hopes that President Clinton will veto the pending meritless proposal to increase the H1-B cap when it reaches his desk. But given the fact that both parties are so beholden to the computer industry for financial support, I am not optimistic. The national interest would be best served, as Mr. Fern suggests, if this corporate labor subsidy were terminated. But it will take an act of leadership to do it.

--- Briggs is a professor in Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. His book, "Immigration and American Unionism," is scheduled to be published in the spring by Cornell University Press.

-- K (, September 10, 2000


Ooooohhh! I'm sooooo scared! I am a computer programmer and I'd like to ask, have you ever worked with any of these foreign nationals? Well I have and let me tell you a couple of things to ease your fears. I've worked with Russian, Ukrainian, and Indian "High tech IT slaves". After all, they are slaves in a sense that they will pay dearly if they quit.

The quality of their work is poor at best, even the very best of the bunch, who can speak and understand english well, aren't a decent replacement for an American Computer Programmer having a bad day. The language barrier is what really hurts productivity. You are constantly going over the same stuff with them reviewing it in ever increasing detail until they can understand fully what the objective is. Trouble is, their understanding of the objective, and the time frame they have to accomplish it are often brought into question.

I'm not fearing for my job.

-- John P Franks (, September 11, 2000.


I know personally of at least 10 outstanding programmers (some of whom are Green Card immigrants or naturalized citizens) who have been replaced by much less experienced H1B Visa slaves. Many of these talented veterens cannot get interviews, let alone jobs, because the of the expansion of the H1B Visa program.

-- K (, September 11, 2000.

Here is an actual email forwarded to me. An American citizen, or a Green Card immigrant cannot even apply for these jobs. Skills are not an issue here, H1B Visa (indentured slave) status is the highest qualification this employer is seeking. The industry is getting so bold with this discrimination that they no longer have to hide it because of their soft-money bribes to Congress and the Administration.

"Non-H-1Bs need not apply". The ad says: Please send your Own H-1 consultant only along with their resume, rate, and contact number

An outrage---but no one seems to care.

************************************************* From: Terry R. Voithofer [] Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 9:16 AM To: Terry Voithofer Subject:

Need a C++ Developer

Our client is seeking a C++ Developer that is capable of Network Programming for a very successful IP firm. This position requires telephony experience, at least 5 years C++ development experience, strong working experience with UNIX and TCP/IP (has to know the difference between TCP and UDP). The candidate will be developing dial up access for major clients. The ability to work independently as well as oversee more junior developers is necessary. Perl would be a plus.

Start Date: ASAP Length: -6 Month plus Location: Richmond, VA, No of positions: 2

Please send your Own H-1 consultant only along with their resume, rate, and contact number


Terry R. Voithofer Vice President, Sales & Marketing Professional Marketing Strategies, Inc. Offices in Washington, PA; Wexford, PA; and Wheeling, WV Phone: 724-935-5016 Fax: 724-935-8840 Cell: 412-855-1937 email:

-- K (, September 11, 2000.

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