I am a first generation American. I came to America 25 years ago as the child of an H1B. He was sponsored by his company for a green card and eventually we became citizens. An H1B worker (who doesn’t have family with a green card) can only get permanent residency if their employer makes the green card application.
People are not being sponsored by these companies now for citizenship. http://www.myvisajobs.com/Reports/ search Tata, Infosys, Wipro, and Accenture. There are orders of magnitude difference between the number of H1bs and the number of green cards applications at these companies. They flood the H1B lottery with applications.
Half of my contact emails at work have ext.mycompany.com as part of their email address. That means they aren’t full time. I don’t want to identify where I work, but checking http://h1bdata.info/ I could see people are making much less than they would make on the open market for the software jobs they fill and the work they do in my area. The modern H1B worker is underpaid. This is not as much of an issue with companies like Google and Amazon and Facebook that directly sponsor H1B (though it certainly becomes an issue if they are contracting with these labor firms). The real problem is companies that sponsor H1B only to contract out the labor of the worker being brought over. Infosys doesn’t actually make anything, they just provide labor for companies that do make things. They make some contract to provide labor at X price per hour, tell the worker they will get Y wages per hour upon timesheet approval, and skim the difference between X and Y for themselves. Companies that pay these Indian outsourcing firms are culpable, either they know what they are paying for when they contract work to a labor company or they’re ignorant of what’s happening and don’t care. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/us/large-companies-game-h-1b-visa-program-leaving-smaller-ones-in-the-cold.html and https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/06/us/outsourcing-companies-dominate-h1b-visas.html
Job descriptions are being designed to exclude domestic applicants as unqualified, which are then used to justify the importation of foreign workers, who are then paid less than they would get if they had any freedom to leave their company and seek their actual value. It’s obvious to see when supposedly entry level software or engineering positions are demanding 3–5 years experience. https://www.oncontracting.com/article/IT-Staffings-Biggest-Problem-is-Fake-Resumes.html
More than half of the people in my apartment complex are H1b families. They have young kids who go to American schools and who will not get permanent status because the ‘consultancy’ companies will never sponsor those working parents. Their direct employers have no incentive to provide sponsorship for a green card, because the business model relies on continuous payments as time sheets are filled. They aren’t taking a single finders fee the way a staffing firm would get for finding a direct hire, it’s continuous labor arbitrage. Hell, I still get mail once a month addressed to the person who lived in my apartment before me, and it’s always got that TCS logo.
Alyssa’s article is about diversity in the tech workforce, not about immigration. I pointed out the issue of H1B as a problem that contributes to the lack of aesthetic diversity in the tech workforce.
Is this the biggest problem in the larger immigration system? No, there’s plenty more fucked up shit going on like country limits and the backlog. That doesn’t make H1b then not a problem. It’s still an abuse of foreign workers who are underpaid, domestic workers who are undercut, and a system designed to alleviate labor shortages. It’s a problem that only gets media play when something obviously outrageous happens like American workers being told to train their replacements as they are being fired.
Do me a favor. How about instead of listening to what companies say they do, you read what they are actually doing? And if you can’t be bothered to see why people like Bernie Sanders (the self admitted socialist who advocates a path to citizenship) want to change how H1B works, then go fuck yourself.