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H1B Visa Problems in the U.S.

If you have been in IT industry long enough, you are probably aware of the affects of H1B Visa program that's been around for a while.  The original intention of the program was to fill the gap caused by a shortage of highly trained workers in IT industry.

In reality, that's very far from what actually happened.  Tech giants such as Google and Amazon has been crying about not being able to find qualified job candidates in their companies.  However, that's far from the real truth. These corporations don't care about the rights of American job seekers.  The only thing that matters to them is who can get the job at the lowest cost and the bottom line in their earnings reports.


Suppose you have two equally qualified job candidates - a U.S. citizen who rightfully want to get a salary of $120,000 and a H1B holder from India who's eager to get the same job for $90,000.  In many cases, this job will go to the Indian worker.  Of course, this is clear violation of the program, but it's almost impossible to enforce the law as it is written today.

Some people may not see this as a problem or say why can the American worker accept the job with $90,000 salary.  If we were to apply that same logic to every other professions, we can import tens of millions of workers from all over the world ranging from doctors, accountants, auto mechanics and carpenters.  You can practically replace the entire American population with foreign workers.

The job market is efficient in steering the salary to the optimal level based on supply and demand, and also the length and difficulty of the education involved.  When that balance is disrupted by influx of imported labor force, it can result in a lot of bad problems that can take many years to repair.

In last several years, the industry also saw a big rise in Indian outsourcing firms that specializes in supplying H1B workers to U.S corporations, essentially pushing American workers out of the competition all together.

In DC metro area which is one of the largest tech center in America, the problem caused by H1B abuse is very apparent. Just walk around office parks in Reston or Herndon area, you will notice something odd immediately.  Then walk inside Fannie Mae building, and you may feel like you were just teleported to India.


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I have very personal experience with Fannie Mae actually.  A few years ago, I applied to a senior IT position that I was well qualified for.  The phone interview went very well and I was scheduled for a panel interview along with other candidates.  There were six hiring managers from various departments who were paired into three groups of two, and about eight candidates as I saw them arrive.

By the time I finished all three interviews, I felt like something just hit my head.  What just happened?  All six of them were East Indians. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all of them were H1B visa workers.  But that wasn't the real problem.  The problem was that these disgraceful men and women wasn't there to interview the candidates fairly.  Some of them were disengaged from the very beginning and didn't even ask meaningful questions. One guy was even extremely angry as if he wanted to pick a fight or something.

Thinking back, I remembered there was one Indian man among the candidates, and he seems to know a few of those hiring managers very well.  They were talking and laughing very loud in their native dialect even before the interview session started.  A brief online search revealed the ugly truth about the Fannie Mae's hiring practice.  I am pretty sure this problem is limited to Reston location and does not represent the entire organization.  However, we can clearly see what we will be up against if H1B abuse doesn't get under control soon.  By the way,  Fannie Mae is United States government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), and this kind of non-sense should be stopped immediately.

Luckily, Trump administration is working on a new legislation, and introduced it in the US House of Representatives today. Among other things, it calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000, making it difficult for firms to use the program to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.
H1B Visa Problems in the U.S. Reviewed by Brandon Oh on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 Rating: 5

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