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Posts Tagged ‘H1-B visa’

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President Donald Trump has attacked the H1B Visa program, and high tech executives are after his hide for it.

The H1-B visa is supposed to allow US companies to import foreign workers for up to three years if there are insufficient US workers to fill positions. However, that’s not how it has worked.

US corporations regularly import guest workers via the H1-B program to replace their US workers, and they pay their foreign workers less than their US workers. In effect, the US government is allowing the H1-B program to lower US wages, which increases profits and share prices. We all know Wall Street and several billionaires call the shots of both major political parties.

The US high tech workers at Southern Edison, Toys R Us, Disneyland, Intel, the University of California and hundreds of other companies have seen their jobs vanish as foreigners have taken their place. Click Computerworld for another article on this. In many cases, the US workers have been forced to train their replacements.

Once Trump declared his opposition to the H1-B Visa program, high tech spokespeople all over the US declared there was a shortage of US high tech workers. This, of course, was a lie. But the US news media, both conservative and liberal, gleefully went along with the lie.

According to the Economic Policy Institute,

1 “The flow of U.S. students (citizens and permanent residents) into STEM fields has been strong over the past decade, and the number of U.S. graduates with STEM majors appears to be responsive to changes in employment levels and wages.
2 For every two students that U.S. colleges graduate with STEM degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job.
3. In computer and information science and in engineering, U.S. colleges graduate 50 percent more students than are hired into those fields each year; of the computer science graduates not entering the IT workforce, 32 percent say it is because IT jobs are unavailable, and 53 percent say they found better job opportunities outside of IT occupations. These responses suggest that the supply of graduates is substantially larger than the demand for them in industry.” Economic Policy Institute–Guest Workers high skill labor market analysis

The H1-B visa program has been used to keep US high tech workers unemployed and high tech wages down. They’ve been kept down since the “inception of the program.” The program is likely why wages for US high tech workers have been stagnant in real terms since 1990.

Even if you don’t side with President Trump on any other issue, even if you absolutely hate his guts, side with him on this issue.

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The New York Times recently reported that Toys R Us had exported 67 jobs from its headquarters to India via the H1B visa.

According to the Times,

“A temporary visa program known as H-1B allows American employers to hire foreign professionals with college degrees and “highly specialized knowledge,” mainly in science and technology, to meet their needs for particular skills. Employers, according to the federal guidelines, must sign a declaration that the foreign workers “will not adversely affect the working conditions” of Americans or lower their wages.

In recent years, however, global outsourcing and consulting firms have obtained thousands of temporary visas to bring in foreign workers who have taken over jobs that had been held by American workers. The Labor Department has opened an investigation of possible visa violations by contractors at the Walt Disney Company and at Southern California Edison, where immigrants replaced Americans in jobs they were doing in this country. Four former workers at Disney have filed discrimination complaints against the company. The companies say they have complied with all applicable laws.”

The problem with the H1-B visa are numerous. They are primarily used to reduce American wages and salaries, for starters. In addition, there must be a shortage of US workers in order for a US corporation to bring in H1-B workers, but there never is a shortage. The Times reports, “…in recent years, many jobs that American workers lost have been in accounting and back-office administration — although there is no shortage of Americans qualified to do that kind of work.”

Then the H1-B visa worker must have “exceptional skills,” but that is rare, especially in the case of Toys R Us. Toys R Us employees trained their replacements so their jobs could be more easily exported to India.

Christine Brigagliano, a lawyer in San Francisco with extensive experience advising American companies on obtaining visas, says “Those contractors are signing on the bottom line, saying we will not undercut the wages and working conditions of Americans. But, in fact, they are.”

Of course they are! That is the purpose of the H1-B visa, and always has been.

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H1B

The US government regulates the wages, salaries and benefits of US citizens in virtually all sectors of society in any number of ways, and the government has regulated wages, salaries and benefits downward for the last thirty-five years.

Sign a treaty, call it a trade agreement, and watch millions of jobs get exported overseas. The job losers contend for the remaining jobs, putting downward pressure on wages. The rich benefit because exporting jobs expands profits, dividends and share prices. The government also uses immigration to regulate US wages, salaries and benefits.

As you read this, US businesses are pushing congress and the white house to expand the H-2B program so that they can import more semi-skilled and low skilled foreign labor to replace US citizens. This is another case of the US government enacting a program to bring downward pressure on wages, and increasing unemployment among US citizens.

According to the Economic Policy Institute;

“…employment and wage data show no labor shortages in industries that employ H-2B workers. Many business groups have advocated for expanding the H-2B visa program to fill so-called labor shortages with low-skilled temporary guest workers. The report suggests that businesses support expanding the H-2B program because they can pay H-2B workers less than comparable U.S. workers. “It’s clear that there are not national-level labor shortages in H-2B jobs that would justify expanding the H-2B program or watering down rules requiring that employers first recruit U.S. workers before hiring an H-2B worker,” said Daniel Costa, the report’s author.

Costa reports, “Wages were stagnant or declining for workers in all of the top 15 H-2B occupations in 2014.” Many of these industries have been experiencing declining wages for a decade or more.

Hopefully, given the current US political climate, an expansion of the H-2B visa will not come about. That would be devastating to the 99 percent, but the rich would reap the benefits of lower wages.

The H1-B guest worker visa has been used to keep the wages of US high tech workers down for nearly thirty years. Wages in the high tech industry have been in the doghouse since the inception of the program, and three out of four US high tech workers are unemployed in their fields.

If the government was truly serious about raising US wages, and that time is nearing, both the H-1B and the H-2B programs would be curtailed or eliminated. The Trans Pacific Partnership would not become a fact of law. In addition, immigration would be curtailed until long-term wage growth became a reality, and the income and wealth gaps closed significantly.

During the last three decades and a half, immigration into the US has been explosive. That’s because the US government has been regulating wages downward. The folks at the Pew Research Institute call this hyper-immigration. According to some estimates, 90-95 percent of all US population growth since 1981 is due directly or indirectly to immigration.

Now I’m not suggesting immigration is a bad thing most of the time, especially if worker compensation is going up. But it does become a problem for the 99 percent, and a treasure chest for the 1 percent, if compensation is going down. When this occurs, such a process redistributes income to the super rich from the 99 percent. Let’s face it. Average real US wages have declined in real terms during this period of hyper-immigration while the US stock markets have exploded. Much, and perhaps most, of this is due to shipping jobs overseas, but a fair amount is due to hyper-immigration. Just look at wages in the US high tech sector.

 

To read the EPI report click here.

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H1 B Visa

Politico reports that the US Department of Labor (DOL) employs lower cost H1-B workers rather than US citizens. This comes at a time when 3/4 of US high tech workers are unemployed in their field, and when US high tech workers haven’t had a pay increase since 1990.

The DOL employs these people by hiring contracting companies to do the work. Those companies then employ the guest workers, usually at lower wages than US citizens. That doesn’t mean the Department of Labor is saving any money. The US military, for examples, hires contractors such as Blackwater at much higher costs to taxpayers than regular US military personal.

“The H-1B workers cleared to perform work at the Labor Department’s Frances Perkins Building on Constitution Avenue provide a range of IT services, including software consulting, system administrating and network engineering. Some of them, however, are classified as “Wage Level 1” employees, a classification usually reserved for workers with limited experience.”

In other words, these H1-B people are getting paid less than US citizens would, and the difference in pay between what US citizens would earn and what H1-B visa workers earn goes toward profits for the wealthy.

The H1-B visa is an income redistribution scam, and should be eliminated. It has been used to keep US high tech workers unemployed and underpaid so that Microsoft and Apple and other high tech firms can keep their profits and share prices high at the expense of high tech workers.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/guest-workers-employed-at-labor-department-headquarters-220647#ixzz42hjG38al
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