Immigration Reform, Statement From Bill Gates on Senate Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

By passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation today that makes prudent adjustments to the annual H1-B visa and green card caps for high skilled employees, the U.S. Senate has taken a critical step forward in its important work to ensure that our nation remains the global leader in technology innovation.

Here’s another article from EE Times, High-tech groups laud Senate immigration bill:

According to proponents of the Senate measure, the annual H-1B visa cap would be raised by 50,000 a year from the current 65,000 per year. It would also create what is being called a “market-based cap” to allow for future increases in the visa limits. It also would raise the green card cap to 650,000 for fiscal years 2007 through 2016.

An increase in the limit is great, though I need to understand how this impacts the filing of my I-140 and I-485 (my PERM Labor Cert has a priority date of September 29, 2005)

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8 Responses to Immigration Reform

  1. Roy Lawson says:

    An arbitrary raise in the cap is destructive to our profession. Don’t they teach you about supply and demand in Canada?

    You flood any occupation, the demand goes down. Salaries follow.

    How exactly is an increase great when it does not account for the current workforce?

    I proposed a much more sustainable solution based upon the labor market. This should dispell the “shortage” lie. Please, forward to your boss if he is done lobbying for the distruction of our profession.

    The real market solution to the H-1b cap:

    And, since you seem real concerned about your own skin, flooding the immigration system doesn’t look good for your chances of getting a GC. Better hope your filings get processed soon.

    And btw, I am not anti-immigrant. I support a green card instead if we can get sustainable numbers. I would much rather compete with people on the open market who don’t feel tied to a sponsoring company – or who don’t want their perm process to be reset.

  2. Ming says:

    The paper pretty much says that incoming H1-B holders displace US IT professionals because growth in the field is not as high as it used to be before and during the bubble. But the keyword that’s missing is quality.

    The right question to ask is “are incoming H1-B holders displacing US professionals of the SAME QUALITY”?

    That question is a lot more difficult to answer because of the subjectiveness of quality. But remember that at companies like MS, H1-B holders make (in general) the same that their US counterparts do (in the same job level). So it’s economically inefficient for them to bring in H1-B immigrants IF they can find the same qualified people in the US. This is true even for new grads. Why would Microsoft spend thousands of dollar more if they can hire enough qualified people graduating from US universities? It would make more sense for them to just outsource (at least then they can pay them less).

  3. Roy Lawson says:

    Hold on just a second. We produce more engineers per capita than both India and China. So suggesting that quality is an issue is just not the case. Additionally, if the market was not flooded there would be a financial motivator for more Americans to pursue the occupation and compete on quality.

    I am not sure you had a racist tone to your argument, but it came across that way. As if to say that Americans are dumb and people from other countries are not. I hope that is not your argument as that is quite disturbing.

    I respect the knowledge and accomplishments of Indian software professionals. We should welcome them but at the same time not flood our markets using them as a labor subsidy.

    “The paper pretty much says that incoming H1-B holders displace US IT professionals because growth in the field is not as high as it used to be before and during the bubble. ”

    No, the paper says that if there is not growth in the industry, we don’t need additional workers. It is a reasoned argument that if we are losing jobs, yet importing more workers, Americans are being displaced. This occured from 2001-2003.

    It also makes an argument that immigration should come from job growth – and never exceed that.

    As far as salary of H-1b holders, Microsoft appears to be paying prevailing wages (in the true spirit of the law). There are companies who do not pay prevailing wages – in fact enough to drive the average salary down by $13,000 below American salaries. If all companies used the program in the spirit of the law, as Microsoft appears to be doing, perhaps we wouldn’t have a problem.

    The spoilers are companies like Wipro, Infosys, and Tata. The vast majority of their workers in the United States are from India. In short, they discriminate against Americans. They are also the bottom of the barrel when it comes to salaries. The Pascrell legislation would correct this. Immigration should not be used as a tool to export jobs. That is not in our national interest. These companies should be required to hire American workers – the current cost of offshoring is artificially low because of cheap and exploited labor subsidies. Removing that would relieve the pressure of offshoring.

    In the end, we still need to balance the numbers. We can make a reasonable economic/political argument that the cap should never exceed job growth. And anyone wanting to argue that foreign workers should get 100% (or more) of the new jobs we create is welcome to do so, but any politician supporting that position will pay a price.

    Do you believe that in 2001 when we lost 139,000 software jobs it was OK to permit 110,000 H-1b visa holders to enter the occupation? Does that sound fundementaly fair to you?

    What percent of job growth do you think should be allocated to foreign workers? Is it OK for the number of foreign workers entering an occupation to exceed the number of jobs created?

    When we frame the argument as an issue of fundemental fairness – and demonstrate how it has been unfair in the past, I believe we will win. This system, numerically speaking, should work for foreign workers as well though. If we grow as predicted the cap will actually go much higher than what it is today. In 2006 for example, I expect it to exceed 75,000 using my method in the software occupation alone. It would rise and fall with the labor market.

    You won’t win this debate by getting greedy. In fact, it will probably result in a backlash. The public is growing weary of offshoring and arbitrary H-1b caps. Immigrants should embrace a market driven plan because they could demonstrate how the system is not displacing American workers or encourage college students to not attend science and engineering degree programs.

  4. Ming says:

    Hold on just a second. We produce more engineers per capita than both India and China. So suggesting that quality is an issue is just not the case.

    This is a non-sequitur. Your conclusion does not follow from your argument. Quantity does not imply quality. And I’m not saying that Americans are dumb, so please don’t put words in my mouth either.

    I agree with you that companies hiring H1-B immigrants with low salaries should be held accountable, but through other means than strictly limiting the H1-B cap. I also think that we’re arguing along tangents, since I really have no opinion on H1-B caps, but am rather arguing the methodology you’re using.

    Your assumption is that H1-B holders are displacing US jobs in times of little or no growth. And on the whole, I can’t argue with that.

    But in truth, it could be a great engineer from another country displacing an average engineer from the US (and you must admit that both exist, despite how great the American education system is). So my question is, is that a fair displacement? Or, would the company have even hired the average engineer had there been no great engineers to be hired inside the US? I think a lot of the engineers who lost their jobs during 2000-2001 are of the average to below-average type, and companies who survived the crash are now more cautious of hiring only the great engineers.

    The real problem is, the great engineers from other countries want to come to the US. That’s great for a globalized company in terms of getting good resources, but not so great for the average engineers in the US (and from what I can tell, all the great US engineers I’ve met have jobs, and can move from job to job with the snap of a finger). So how will the US deal with globalization? Will it shut the rest of the world out, or will it welcome the challenge (okay, that’s an unfair false dichotomy, but it sounded cool in my head)?

  5. Roy Lawson says:


    Never stated that it did. But I would stipulate that it doesn’t matter. If there is a demand for quality, basic economics dictate that the demand will be met as long as the market is willing to pay for such demand. Currently, suppressing wages through foreign labor arbitrage creates less of an incentive for these quality workers to manifest themselves. We are working against our own interests for short term gain. If the market demands it, it will come. If you socialize the systeam – and subsidize certain occupations with cheap and sometimes exploited foreign labor – it won’t come.

    Adam Smith discusses this in regards to academia (letters) in “The Wealth of Nations”.


    Fantastic. So what is the problem with caps? Currently the cap is arbitrary – a fixed number with no basis for existing. I propose a cap that is not fixed – it rises and falls with the labor market – one measure of the economy. You can rationalize the cap by pointing to market conditions. It is still a subsidy, so let’s not kid ourselves about that. But by controlling the subsidy we limit the risk to an occupation. Industry’s argument for this subsidy (which many dispute) is that we don’t produce enough engineers.


    We have the most liberalized trade policy in the world. Look at our record trade deficits. It is a direct result of ignoring the global market and having blind faith in free trade.

    Liberalized trade (or less restrictive trade) works best with countries who have a similar economic and political model. Gross disparities from one country to another will result in an imbalance – this imbalance is fixed through tarrifs or reforms of the other country. This could arise from currency manipulation, variance in labor laws, and today society has decided that the environment is also important to our future. Nations who don’t value the environment have unfair trade advantages – and it is much cheaper to break the rules. Additionally, China has a communist system that subsidizes private enterprise. Trade bodies frown upon that practice.

    We have got to stop thinking of services as a non-taxable product. Our nation trades in services and has abandoned manufacturing (unfortunately). Our bread and butter is services and we should protect our bread and butter. Currently we see IBM and EDS losing market share and Infosys gaining. Not a good sign or indicator of a “win-win”.

  6. Tim says:

    What makes a great engineer? Experience. Education. Mentor/manager.
    I was a decent engineer, good education, hard working. But with offshoring and job pressure from H-1B’s there was no incentive to train or mentor. It has become easier to layoff and rehire somebody else.(and that’s typically a foreigner for less money)

  7. Pingback: » GOA finds little H1b abuse

  8. Roy Lawson says:

    Regarding the GAO, the abuse is much more widespread. I have the LCA database. The average listed pay for computer programmers across all applications is about 25% less than the average pay listed by the DoL for the occupation.

    Also, it is important to note that the GAO test simply compared two columns – the listed pay and the prevailing wage. If the listed pay was less than prevailing wage that was counted in their results. The GAO didn’t actually compare the listed prevailing wage with the ACTUAL prevailing wage. They couldn’t even if they wanted to because information needed to make that decision is not included in the study.

    Also important to note is that the sponsoring employer fills out prevailing wage. That isn’t determined by an independent source and it isn’t validated by the GAO.

    I am an expert on this because I have done extensive research on this very topic. The GAO report just proves that the DOL is unable to compare two columns and figure out if one number is bigger than the other. They failed that simple test several thousand times.

    If they do analysis on the actual prevailing wage, you will see that most companies pay below average. The database is available online so go see for yourself. I imported it into a MySQL database and can run queries against it.

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