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Politics Government IT

Annual H-1B Visa Cap Met In One Day 473

Posted by kdawson
from the cheap-indentured-servitude dept.
CNet is reporting that the door has closed on the H1-B visa application process for this year, one day after it began. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services said that it had received 150,000 applications as of yesterday afternoon. 65,000 H1-B visas can be issued for foreigners with bachelor's degrees. The USCIS will choose randomly from the applications to determine the winners.
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Annual H-1B Visa Cap Met In One Day

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  • We need more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phathead296 (461366) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @12:15AM (#18599281) Homepage
    Is there anyone else here who thinks this is an indication that we need more Visas?

    While millions of unskilled illegals flood our borders every year, stressing our social safety net, the people we want in this country can't get in. We need more skilled workers who want to work within the system and work here legally and fewer unskilled workers who end up with a free ride at taxpayer's--mine and your--expense.
  • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @12:21AM (#18599339) Homepage

    That sounds like a good idea, as long as you ignore the feedback effect of any government auctions. I'm not sure that making H1B visas a revenue source is really conducive to fair policy decisions in the future.

  • Re:We need more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illegalcortex (1007791) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @12:22AM (#18599343)
    It's questionable what percentage of these H1-B workers would be as desirable if they were here on regular visas. H1-B puts the employee in a certain position that very advantageous to the employer. I wouldn't mind finding out, though. I'm all for ditching the H1-B system and allowing full, unlimited immigration to highly skilled workers.
  • Re:We need more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @12:24AM (#18599355) Homepage
    Please explain how letting in more highly skilled workers would keep low skilled workers from entering the country illegally. Unless you're suggesting hiring H1-B workers as border patrol agents, I don't see it.
  • by Lewisham (239493) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:14AM (#18599703)
    You aren't wrong, but getting the H1-B is difficult enough already. The company has to want you really bad to burn up an application, without a guarantee of success, that only happens once a year, and if I remember right, have proof that an American applicant couldn't have filled the position. For the applicant it's all those things plus convincing the company you're worth it and probably having to fly there to see said company in person.

    I don't see what else this would achieve without just being a way of gouging money, and further screwing job-seekers who actually want to pay taxes, contribute to the economy and the growth of American companies. I don't subscribe to the idea that skilled workers take American jobs, I believe they help companies grow and generate more jobs in the long-term.

    I think that IT is indeed a global economy, and if America is not willing to take on the view that companies can benefit from cherry-picking out of an international workforce, someone else, like Canada or Sweden, will, and companies there will grow.

    Disclaimer: Yes, I am a bitter UK citizen with a Masters degree that can't get a visa to live with his Californian girlfriend that I met during my year of study in the USA. We had to come to New Zealand for us both to continue being together without getting married.
  • by cperciva (102828) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:23AM (#18599747) Homepage

    "Open offices in Canada, where a skilled worker who can speak English and has a job offer is practically guaranteed a visa."

    Guaranteed a visa "maybe", but not a job related to their profession. Like many others in Canada, I've had my share of chats with PhDs driving cabs.


    If you have a job offer related to your profession, then you are indeed guaranteed a job related to your profession. If you come to Canada on the basis of a job offer for a job which you don't want, well, you get what you deserve.

    There are absolutely highly skilled immigrants who are not able to get jobs which utilize their skills; but they are generally those who entered Canada as refugees or were sponsored by family members, not those who entered the country with a job offer.
  • by kevin lyda (4803) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:26AM (#18599765) Homepage
    Never been to NZ, but from what I've seen/heard it sounds like you got a better deal.
  • Re:US? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:26AM (#18599767)

    Who would want to work in the US anyway? Better off heading to Europe.
    Not really. It is much easier to live in the US. For one thing, as an immigrant myself, and inspite of the constant rants about racism I've heard, I have found that as long as you avoid some of the more obvious states (the Bible belt comes to mind), racism and bigotry are rare in the US. I know for a fact that Germany is NOT a place where non-westerners would be as welcome as in ANY place in the US. Same goes for the Scandinavian countries where political parties gain power based on the single issue of keeping foreigners out. Aside from England, I don't know of any European country that is remotely as attractive as the US for a potential immigrant (and England is a rather ghetto version of the US at this point in history). France is a bit of a joke frankly (as far as immigration by non-westerners is concerned, they're as cosmopolitan as hilbillies :P).

    No, I think it's safe to say that the US always has been and always will be the place where people immigrate to. Unless of course the people here develop the disease of meaningless nationalistic jingoism like the rest of the banana republics in the world. Oh wait...

  • Re:US? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:31AM (#18599795)
    Apparently most of the world wants to work here since large numbers apply for work and come here illegally. I've had a lot of friends who are English, Dutch, French, ETC. Most of them complain about the US and talk about how much better it is in their home country. Funny they still live and work here so it doesn't help their argument. It's hardly perfect but there must be some pluses since so many fight hard to get and stay here. I have an Australian friend that decided to go back. He stuck it out for 9 months and mostly stayed that long because it took him that long to earn the money to come back. He found he could earn nearly twice as much here for the same job and he had access to more things here. He still likes to boast of Australia but I haven't heard him talk about moving back since his trip back. It's not knocking other countries, I love Europe personally, it's like voting with your dollars in a sense. If it's so awful here why do you want to live here and a hell of a lot of people do want to live here.
  • Re:We need more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:40AM (#18599853) Homepage
    If there were Americans to fill these spots, I wouldn't doubt that they'd be filled by Americans. It's a far cry from "throwing open the borders" (which I would imagine would apply more to unskilled jobs than skilled jobs anyway)

    The H-1B process is so costly, time-consuming, and unreliable that an employer would be insane not to.

    Instead, in effect, you end up with a talent-shortage. Americans are still out of a job, and companies are unable to maintain an edge in order to stay competitive in the international market. It's not like H-1B workers tend to live in poverty or get paid less than Americans either. Given that we're LOSING skilled workers to emigration, wouldn't it make sense to let more back in to fill the void?

    If we can't fill our jobs with our own people, then there is something seriously wrong with our education system that needs to be addressed immediately. Basic economics indicates that opening the job market up to competition would be the fastest and most effective way to make this happen.
  • by Jahz (831343) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:44AM (#18599877) Homepage Journal

    The requirement for a degree in any CS profession is artificial. My degree is in Chemistry, and yet I work as a software engineer.
    My job isn't especially hard, and certainly two trained monkeys could do it.
    And I'm sure that if I practiced enough and studied enough text books, I could work as a crappy chemist too. What's your point? A CS degree requirement is not artificial. There is a good deal of non-trivial theory that a degree holder is expected to have a good handle on. Sure, its possible to script and write moderately complex programs without take Theory of Computation, Algorithms, OO Design, Programming languages, etc. Perhaps you don't need a grasp of graph theory or an understanding of why P=NP is important. However, when you get into anything sufficiently complicated, I believe a well-trained CS major will have a very strong advantage over you. But then again you're admittedly doing work that "a monkey" could do (boring), so it isn't anything a respected programmer would want to touch.

    In all the jobs I have had, I learned new skills, languages and methodologies. That is one of the benefits of working in a leading-edge field. Of course its possible to jump right in learn "how to program", but I contest that doing so will result in a shaky foundation, at best. My education continues at work, it didn't start there. If you find the *right employer*, most of your work will be challenging, and occasionally rewarding. I'm sorry that you chose the wrong major for yourself.
  • Re:We need more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:44AM (#18599881)

    Throwing open the borders isn't a solution, it is just a suicide pact. All that does is transform the culture of the US into being another corrupt, graft-driven Central American country.
    You're going to have to do better than just assert that if you want people to believe you, because it makes it sound like you are either a racist who thinks that the culture of central america is inherently dishonest, or you are a poor economist who thinks that open borders will lead to massive depression such that the majority of the people in the US are unable to earn a living wage and must resort to abuse of power to supplement their income.
  • Re:US? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liuyunn (988682) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:51AM (#18599945)
    well good for him
    Folks here in the midwest still take 30 years to pay off their mortgage. Maybe we should start thinking about moving to India.
  • Re:We need more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:57AM (#18599989)

    If there were Americans to fill these spots, I wouldn't doubt that they'd be filled by Americans.
    In a free market, if demand increases while supply remains constant, than prices will rise. Yet we've seen near static wage levels in the computer industry since the end of the dot-bomb years. This empirical evidence shows that there are plenty of Americans available to fill these spots.

    If we can't fill our jobs with our own people, then there is something seriously wrong with our education system that needs to be addressed immediately. Basic economics indicates that opening the job market up to competition would be the fastest and most effective way to make this happen.
    No, there is nothing terribly wrong with our education system. It is the incentive system that has something seriously wrong with it. The guys going into college know that the job market for computer engineers sucks, so they've been studying other disciplines, enrollment in computer science courses is at record lows [techtarget.com] all across the country but general college enrollment is climbing. [ed.gov]

    Make it an attractive career, not one where the suits take advantage of the geeks, and you'll see plenty of increased interest. But if the industry continues to undercut its current people, they will eventually find themselves in a situation where they really do need tons of H1Bs for their talent and not for their effect on wages. Or they'll find that other countries need these guys more than the US does because we've lost our edge.
  • Re:US? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:59AM (#18599993) Homepage Journal
    Who would want to work in the US anyway? Better off heading to Europe.

    Europeans don't tolerate threats to their career the same way Americans seem to, and cap the visas lower. Europeans take labor unions seriously, while Americans shun them. Unions have a bad rap in the US because they've gotten carried away and created silly rules that companies have to follow. It may take a generation or two before the stigma wears off and/or unions don't keep making the same mistakes.
         
  • by TeckWrek (220789) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:05AM (#18600037)
    The answer you are looking for is in the DHS document that you linked to. The table 26 on page 64 (where you picked the yearly number from) specifies in the header 'Non Immigrant Admissions (I-94 only)....'. The H1B visa has a maximum validity of 6 years. New visas are issued every year, but the ones issued in previous years (up till last 6) are still valid. All those people can go in and out of the country. Each time they do so, they are issued a new I-94. As a keen eye and some basic analysis will prove to you, the numbers increase every year, as they are cumulative for the last 6. Nothing more sinister here than the lack of understanding of the numbers. You know.. lies, damn lies and statistics.
  • Re:US? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RKBA (622932) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:01AM (#18600735)
    If by "your 'own' home" you mean the bank's home, then I would agree; however, even after the mortgage is paid off it still isn't your own home. It belongs to the county and you must pay a yearly rental fee to the county for the rest of your life or they will repossess it. The county calls the rental fee "property taxes" and they can be quite high in some areas. I wonder if they have that in India?
  • Re:We need more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:59AM (#18601913) Homepage
    The US certainly needs to do something.

    There is currently a 4 year+ queue for people over 21 with a US citizen parent to obtain a green card. If they get married during the wait they go to the back of an EIGHT year queue.

    Oh, and their spouse dosen't get a visa when they do, there is another 5 year wait on top of that. If they chose to apply as the spouse as an LPR (instead of waiting for citizenship) then during the 5 year wait their spouse can't even enter the US.

    This is true even for citizens of affluent countries with technical degrees and well paying jobs who would, but for ITAR and the difficulty of the H1B process, be happy to move them to the US.

    Because of this I have been unable to get married despite being engaged for over a year, and once we do manage to get married we won't be able to live together for at least five years.

    The US system is at present seriously broken.
  • by cluckshot (658931) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:17AM (#18602597)

    I personally think it should be bid out and not a lottery. We sell access to airwaves in this way, why not this?

    To be quite frank the whole issue is a trade war the USA is running against its own citizens and the tax evasion of certain employers in that trade war. Its really quite simple: The USA taxes away (state local and federal) about 65% of the income of its workers. The foreign workers come into the country without the embedded tax cost of about $300,000 (varies on the degree) of tax exempt investment due to the parties not having paid US Taxes. I know there are parties who will discuss VAT in EU etc. (Blecch! It doesn't compare because of US Debt for Education systems) The USA wants its people to pay lots of taxes and then floods the market with either tax exempt goods and services or with tax evasion devices like "Illegal Aliens" and H-1B etc. They even set up a mechanism called "Totalization" where parties work in the USA without even paying the US Taxes at all and without audit in their own countries to evaluate even the compliance with the small local taxes.

    I am sure I will hear from some people who don't understand this but this is the whole issue. A US BS graduate has an investment of about $300,000 of Tax Cost before they graduate. This has to be repaid. This requires the party to earn about $3,000 a month in income just to justify the expense. That is about $3,000/month more than their foreign competition. Of course any employer who can get an H-1B L-1 or other visa party in the country and does not have to repay this money is thrilled. This is in wages to the employee the difference between having to earn about $95,000 a year and doing well on about $40,000 a year. (approx - skip the math games) Of course an employer being able to get equal parties at that wage difference is thrilled. Try this with an MD and we are talking living well on $100,000/yr as alien and starving on $500,000 a year as a US MD as US Grad. Of course the Hospital or where ever still gets the payments that support the $500,000 a year but the MD doesn't. This causes the CEO of the Hospital a lot of income for every H-1B he can get!

    Regards the parent post's remark about living together and visas...., Try having a marriage.

  • Re:US? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:18AM (#18602621) Journal
    Very true. I am an Indian American and if any immigrant group into India becomes as successful in India as Indians have been in USA, there will be riots in the streets.

    Just look at the hostility shown to the South Indians (disparagingly refrred to as the Madrasees) by the people of Delhi. Or the "sons of the soil" policies advocated by Shiv Sena in Bombay which is just thinly veiled antogonism shown to the educated South Indians getting plum jobs there. Not that the South Indians are paragons of virtue. My own native place lumps all North Indians as "marwadis", though Marwar is just one district in Rajasthan. Most North Indian are businessmen but political parties paint them to be money lending Shylocks.

    I will say it once more, Indian Americans household median income is around 60K$, compared to some 52K for the Whites, 45K for the blacks and 42K for the hispanics. If this happened in India, the succesful group would have been hounded mercilessly and demonized for political purposes.

  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @08:49AM (#18603025) Homepage Journal

    There are tech companies all over the place. I live in Lancaster, PA and I work for Mapquest.

    You don't have to live in a place where 1200 square foot houses cost $500,000 to get a great job with a company somebody's heard of.

  • Re:US? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @10:23AM (#18604591) Journal
    You really think all taxes are bad

    No, just most of them.

    and all govt is bad?

    The bigger it is, the worse it is.

    Or are you whoring to get mod points? Learn these basic things about civics. Govt, by its mere, presence adds value to your property. The general law and order, enforcement of contracts, truth-in-labeling laws, truth-in-lending laws etc foster the climate the create value

    These things are good, but property tax and state tax is what leads to these. You can lobby for change when it comes to those, or just move if it is that bad. Want to debate the fairness of federal taxation? Want to talk about the $25 million dollars that is being earmarked for spiniach growers in the upcoming federal budget?

    Just think, how valuable your home will be if it is wrenched out of USA and plunked smack-dab-in-the-middle of Darfar, Sudan. The property tax there is probably 0. So before you mouth off, "govt is bad and zero tax is the fair tax" just remember that it just shows how shallow your comprehension of the world is.

    Just because someone doesn't have the same views as yours on taxation and government doesn't mean their comprehension of the world is 'shallow'.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:09PM (#18607791) Homepage Journal
    The ones that matter to geeks are the L-1 and L-2 visas for professors and grad students from overseas - H1-B is just an artificial way to avoid talking about the need for a real immigration reform where people with skills - like fluency in English, ability to be understood in English, knowledge of American non-metric measurements, and skills our country can use - would lead to people becoming citizens.

    The fourth type are NAFTA and CAFTA visas for Mexican/Canadian and Canadian workers here, who have a separate category.
  • by loudici (27971) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:25PM (#18608083) Homepage
    There is one part of the H1B program i have not seen mentioned which I think explains why the industry likes them so much. H1B workers are pretty tightly linked to their job and won't quit, because they would jeopardize their visa, and later their Green Card application process. I have seen a lot of H1Bs working for years maintaining crappy legacy code while they were waiting for their visa number. Americans on that team would ask to be transfered to another project or quit.

    The other hidden face of that program is that a lot of H1B workers are employed by staffing companies who are taking advantage of them ruthlessly.
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:50PM (#18610625)
    Remember the nightmare, back before the U.S. restricted immigration!?!?!

    We had the scurge of people like Einstien, and John von Neumann! We had the evil of people like Enrico Fermi, and Nicoli Tesla, and Alexander Graham Bell, stealing up all those jobs that should have gone to hard working Americans! And it is about time we kick that evil job-stealing bastard Linus Torvalds from this great U.S. of A. to whatever Scandinavian hell-hole he is from!!!

    Think how much more advanced and successful the U.S. economy would be if it wasn't for these people ruining everything!

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