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Trump Administration Cracks Down On H-1B Visa Abuse (cnn.com) 252

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN Money: The Trump administration is cracking down on companies that get visas for foreign workers and farm them out to employers. Some staffing agencies seek hard-to-get H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, only to contract them out to other companies. There's nothing inherently illegal about contracting out visa recipients, but the workers are supposed to maintain a relationship with their employers, among other requirements. In some cases, outsourcing firms flood the system with applicants. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency said in a new policy memo released Thursday it will require more information about H-1B workers' employment to ensure the workers are doing what they were hired for. Companies will have to provide specific work assignments, including dates and locations, to verify the "employer-employee" relationship between the company applying for an H-1B and its visa recipient.

H-1B visas are valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. The USCIS says it may limit the length of the visa to shorter than three years based the information an employer provides. For example, if an employer can't prove the H-1B holder is "more likely than not" needed for the full three years, the government might issue the visa for fewer than three years. The memo also says the administration wants to prevent employee "benching." That's when firms bring on H-1B visa holders but don't give them work and don't pay them the required wages while they wait for jobs.

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Trump Administration Cracks Down On H-1B Visa Abuse

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 25, 2018 @06:10PM (#56185253)

    Employers view H1b Visas as a worker for 33% pay.

    Oh, and they like the 'loyalty' of a worker who is dependent on them to stay in the country.

    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      H1B workers are paid more than local citizens. That is ensured by the LCA process. In fact with the cost of applying for the LCA and the H1 visa , an H1 candidate costs 10K more than a local candidate and the hiring process takes 4 weeks more than it would to hire a local. People dont hire H1s because they want to, they hire them because they cant find locals.
      Also H1s dont change jobs often, this is attractive to employers who are looking to have lesser attrition. This was supposed to be fixed through the A

  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by richman555 ( 675100 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @06:15PM (#56185263)
    A step in the right direction.... it has to continue until H1Bs are reduced and the American jobs and salaries increase.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      From what I've seen, they don't decrease our salaries since they're so useless. I've probably worked with over 250 of them in the 32 years I've worked in the tech industry in Seattle, and not a one was useful to be productive instead of a time suck.

      • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, 2018 @01:25AM (#56186043)

        Thank you for that statistically significant anecdote.

        Allow me to offer a counter example:

        A friend recently forwarded me a job listing for an engineering position in California. The job requires a college degree and multiple years of experience. It was a contract job and the rate was $21.50/hour. The firm that would hire is full of Indians.

        There's no God damned way you can convince me that $21.50 is a reasonable rate for the kind of work requested. Newly-graduated engineering or CS students average between $65,000 and $75,000 per year, which is at least $30/hour and that's not counting the cost of benefits.

        It is very clear that the job listing was fishing for either an illegal alien, a truly desperate U.S. citizen with the requisite skill set, or it was a perfunctory job search with a ridiculous wage so that an already-chosen H-1B worker could be hired.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently those are still urgently needed by important US businesses [newsweek.com].

  • No come on...go the distance and make all of these an open auction. Probably requires legislative changes for that though...
  • I don't have much opinion on increasing or decreasing the numbers, but this will just eliminate the abuse of the system where a corporation can essentially run a slave temp agency. I like it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Like Infosys. I worked for them for 23 months in Bellevue, WA, and out of the H-1B visa holders I worked with, only a couple were good. Infosys worked those two like hell while most of their employees just took up space. I worked for most of that time out of a customer's office a block away, and literally none of the at one point 15 people I worked with did a single thing despite billing the American company from what I heard $15k per day.

      Infosys is just importing unqualified bodies to bilk their custome

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @08:56PM (#56185619)

    Companies are addicted to cheap outsourced labor...there's no way this wasn't drafted without consulting them first. It sounds like the sponsoring companies are just going to have to jump through another hoop to show that there's still a relationship with the company. And you can bet there is...Tata, Infosys and the like use their H-1B slots to move people on-site to their customers. These people either do the work that absolutely can't be done offshore or are interfaces between what's left of the on-site team and the offshore IT farm.

    Immigration law is full of all sorts of exceptions and gray areas, and I'm sure a lot of those were purchased by lobbyists. So, while it appears to be a good step in the right direction, it's not an outright ban and probably won't make much difference.

    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      Making it tougher to have H1s will mean entire industries will move offshore or nearshore. Many companies like Apple and Google are setting up Canada centers as their vendors TCS, Infosys etc have complained they are not being able to staff in the US. The companies are dependent on the vendors for the backend work so they will play nice with the vendors. A number of Apple employees have been offered bonuses to move offshore to continue to supervise the vendor teams.

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      Are you actually claiming that Trump's administration would attempt to make things easy for a foreign company like Tata? Dude, I don't think you've been paying attention.

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @10:13PM (#56185713)

    Oh, this should be good ... someone finally does something about H1Bs and .. it's Trump!

    Slashbot heads will explode like 60s scifi robots caught in a contradiction ... "must hate Trump ... but H1Bs ... but must hate Trump ... " Ah, this is awesome.

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @04:40AM (#56186405) Journal

      Most people are aware that a stopped clock is right twice a day. It remains to be seen however how actually worthwhile happens out of this. Which is why there's a note of cautious approval in the thread.

      Slashbot heads will explode like 60s scifi robots caught in a contradiction ... "must hate Trump ... but H1Bs ... but must hate Trump ... " Ah, this is awesome.

      Except that didn't happen.

  • Hurrah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @10:23PM (#56185725)

    Hurrah, the Trump administration does something I support!

    I would call my self a liberal who is highly sympathetic to fiscal conservatism (the later being how I was raised). My dream of a 100% Republican controlled government would be that they would run the numbers and cull less productive government programs. Sadly, Republican's have abandoned the one platform I've always respected them for, the debt. It bothers me that this is the very best our "conservative" government has been able to bring us.

    American social conservatives empower these people who just shovel more and more wealth towards out affluent, all the while they bankrupt our government.

  • by edi_guy ( 2225738 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @12:56AM (#56185977)
    Watch out for Infosys to start buying Univ of Phoenix PhD's for their contractors. SAP implementation? Sure we have 6 Astrophysicists that can customize those idocs for you.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @02:00AM (#56186097)

    On an issue by issue basis, polls have consistently supported positions he's also supported.

    What is more, if Trump policies are cited as Obama or Hillary policies, you find that many people that reflexively oppose Trump agree with the policies. This makes clear that the opposition is not to the actual policies but rather to the R after his name and his self presentation which rubs many people the wrong way.

    Again, those that find this an inconvenient observation will say it is opposition to policies that are immoral.

    Policies such as what and according to what clearly undefined moral code are we supposed to be judging him?

    Not supporting effectively open borders? Americans don't want that. There has been support for reducing immigration and making more strict the policies that allow existing immigration for well over 30 years.

    What about so called "free trade"? Its a farce and everyone knows it is a farce. Free trade was something the US pushed during the Cold War as an inducement to join the First World. It was one of the carrots to side with the West over the Russians. It has generally acted to grant foreign companies access to US markets with few questions asked or conditions required. Now that the Cold War is over, there is no justification for it anymore. It is not infinitely sustainable even if we saw infinite political utility for it. There is obvious damage to many American industries and communities to no particular value to our society besides some geopolitical buy in.

    What about government corruption? Here any faction that claims this isn't an issue of import is just lying. The last several years have been an endless embarrassing laundry list of corruption, conflicts of interest, nepotism, theft, incompetence, and dereliction of duty. This is actually starting to become an existential issue for the US government itself. If the government neither is doing the things it was created to do reliably nor has the confidence of the people to do those tasks then the role of the government in society collapses. This is how great empires die with some frequency. They hollow out... rot from within... and then one day... the shiny veneer that promised solidity and perfection collapses. Consensus exists that this should be taken seriously.

    What else? Gun policy? If the anti gun people had the votes they'd just go to constitutional convention rather than whining endlessly about restrictions and living constitutions etc. We've changed our constitution as recently as the 1980s. If you have the votes, you can change it. If you don't have the votes then all you can do is bitch. That the anti gun people are bitching makes it very clear they don't have the votes.

    On and on and on. The man is sitting at 50% approval right now.
    http://news.gallup.com/poll/11... [gallup.com]

    Most presidents don't pull 50 percent. Naturally this is an average statistic from Gallup... we'll have to see what Trump pulls at the end of his term. But if he gets anywhere near 50 percent then he'll have gotten about as much approval from the public as the average president which is impressive considering the military grade invective thrown at the man.

    Lastly we get into this issue of his immorality. Well, according to what? What are the principles of this morality? Is it written down anywhere so we can examine it? Where does it come from? I'm not saying anything he does is or isn't moral because whatever his morality is will be subjective to whatever standard we're using. It is like judging if someone broke the law without citing which legal code the person is under. So where does this moral code come from? Because it sounds increasingly like the code of "you're a bad person because you disagree with my politics". And whilst I can understand that moral code, it is clearly not one that anyone outside that moral paradigm should take seriously.

    • It really depends how you phrase the question.

      https://youtu.be/G0ZZJXw4MTA [youtu.be]

      If you ask "should the US have control of its borders?" then most people will agree with you. If you ask "should the US build a wall and aggressively deport children?" then you might get a different answer. Same on healthcare, people had been primed to hate Obamacare and agree with Trump, but when they see what he wants to replace it with they don't like that either.

      It's standard populist stuff. Promise what people want, but deliver what you want. Support for one does not imply support for the other.

      • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @08:30AM (#56187037)

        No one would suggest that country X doesn't have a right to control its borders and decide who enters and who doesn't.

        Unless that country is the US.

        I'll tell you what, I'll accept people from mexico on the same standard that Mexico will accept people from the US into Mexico.

        Think Mexico would be okay with Americans just crossing the Mexican border, shirking mexican immigration law, existing in the country illegally, getting deported over and over again only to return again, illegal American immigrants to Mexico demanding the rights of citizens, claiming that any attempt to enforce Mexican border law is racism... etc...

        The argument used against the US if applied to any other nation would be laughed or shouted out of the room by basically any country.

        That people actually presume to use the argument against the US is somewhere between mindless repetition of talking points and mendacious sophistry.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spk037 ( 1030378 )

      According to Rasmussen's daily polling for Monday, February 26th, Trump has a 49% approval rating. Even more interesting, Obama, on this date in the 2nd year of his presidency, only had a 44% approval rating.

      Curiously, according to the Washington Post, Obama's media coverage was 42% positive and 20% negative. While the coverage for Trump was 62% negative and only 5% positive. A number of other studies show negative coverage of Trump to be over 90%.

      • exactly... Its just tired ra ra sis boom bah to intimidate. Its as meaningless as the stamping of the feet from one side of the stadium.

    • I don't think it's even the R to Trump's name, it's just that they cannot absorb the idea of Trump leading the country.

      As a thought experiment -- imagine if Trump ran as a Democrat (which he was until 2009) on a socially liberal but economically protectionist platform like Bernie's, defeating Hillary and becoming a D candidate to the dismay of all the establishment and intellectuals. I imagine blue collar and simple folks would vote for him, while actual liberal intellectuals would vote for any R candidate

  • H1B is a worthless program for America. If we have a true shortage of help ( we don't ), then we should bring in more green cards. Regardless, CONgress will keep h1b going.
  • Bust a few large tech companies. Find out they're underpaying people on H1Bs and make them pay up with back pay.

    So the people on H1B visas get a salary increase and the tech companies lose the incentive to fire Americans and replace them with H1Bs.

    Who loses in this scenario? Well the tech companies do, but it'll be hard for them to spin this as a bad thing. And unlike many will actually go bankrupt since most are sitting on enormous piles of cash.

    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      If there is a mega crackdown on H1Bs, India will negotiate with US for the return of Social Security payments made by H1Bs. In the last 25 years H1Bs have contributed a shitload to SS without taking any payouts. If this money has to be returned SS wil go bankrupt. Say Bye bye to welfare/Disability checks.

      • This 'crackdown' means H1Bs get paid more. Also consider the following conversation

        India : Because of [a very convoluted argument] you owe us social security payments and if you pay social security will go bankrupt now rather than in a couple of decades.
        US : Err, no. We're not going to do that.

        If you contribute to social security but never claim a pension that doesn't mean you can claim the money back. I've paid tax in loads of places that I'm not going to get a pension in. I can't 'negotiate' to get my mon

        • by ghoul ( 157158 )

          The social security rules say that if foreign countries have a treaty with US saying they have their own social security than the foreign nationals on work visas dont have to pay social security. e.g. French folks on H1 in the US do not pay FICA taxes. India does not have such a Totalization treaty hence Indian H1Bs get screwed - they have to pay FICA taxes but their H1s are valid for only 6 years and you do not become eligible to claim unless you have 40 quarters or 10 years of contributions so they never

        • by ghoul ( 157158 )

          I am all for paying H1Bs more but the fact of the matter is the rules for H1Bs are very biased. The employer has too much power and it takes far too long to settle legally (GCs have a 10 year backlog).
          As long as the playing field is not fair people dont care about playing fair either. They will exploit every loophole they can get away with.

          Want to solve the H1 issue - make the visa non capped and individual. Anyone with the qualification should be able to get the visa individually without a 6 month wait. Th

  • Some staffing agencies seek hard-to-get H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, only to contract them out to other companies. There's nothing inherently illegal about contracting out visa recipients, but the workers are supposed to maintain a relationship with their employers, among other requirements.

    The employer is the agency. It's no different to what Toilet & Douche, Cowboys & Lowbrows, Pricey Whorehouse or any of the others do.

    There are problems with the H1B system, but this ain't one of them.

    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      "must be an astronaut & Olympic medallist in 17 sports, plus an Oscar"

      You must be thinking of the O1 visa. That is the visa that Nativists point to as an alternate to the H1 and for which USCIS makes ridiculous demands of proof.

      The H1 was created as industry said the USCIS is slowing down hiring too much for Greencards and the companies needed a faster way to get foreigners over here to work. It was also part of the WTO negotiations where India bargained for access to the US services market in return f

      • You must be thinking of the O1 visa.

        Your telepathy skills need some work. A bunch of shysters called Cohen & Grigsby offer seminars on how to game the system. It's pretty famous. Or rather, infamous.

        The H1 was created as industry said the USCIS is slowing down hiring too much for Greencards and the companies needed a faster way to get foreigners over here to work. It was also part of the WTO negotiations where India bargained for access to the US services market in return for US companies' access to

        • by ghoul ( 157158 )

          British Dutch and German's do not need the H1 to work in the US. They can come on E3 and E4 treaty visas. India does not have a treaty with US so the only visa open to Indians is the H1 hence the over representation of Indians in the H1 category.
          BTW some Europeans choose H1 over E3 because H1 is a dual intent visa. It specifically allows applying for greencards whereas the treaty visas do not.
          Frankly Europeans get 2 months of vacation, free medical care and free college for their kids so not many are intere

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @01:15PM (#56188681) Homepage

    So many simple steps that could be taken to improve the system, like those seeking less candidates receive approval first.

    > Request only 1-2 H1B's, you have top priority, 3-10 then you have second tier priority, 11-100, third tier, 100-1,000 fourth tier, 1,000+ last tier. All higher tiers are reviewed and granted prior to the next tier. That alone would shift the H1B program to a much more legitimate implementation.

    > Increase salary requirement and set to inflation adjustment every 5 years.

    > Random audits, all candidate resumes provided must be uploaded to the H1B visa program. Companies with a 100 or more H1B visas are randomly selected for audit and review.

    > 10% tax levied per $100,000 bracket of H1B visa, the revenues directly fund programs to provide free access to STEM programs at community and state colleges. If the H1B visas are needed because there are not enough qualified candidates, than the program should help fund the qualifying of candidates.

  • I'll bet Mar-a-Lago didn't lose any.

  • These rule changes sound sane. I just hope the anti H1-B sentiment doesn't become a witch hunt. I often see posts here making blanket statements that all H1-B visa workers are underpaid and/or underskilled. Yet I work with several H1-B immigrants who are DANG FRIEKING GOOD. They are some of the best people on the team, and they have been trying to get green cards for a while. Some of them got married here and want to buy a house and start a family. These are engineers with college degrees who are easi

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