Bill Gates will plea for an H-1B increase before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at a public hearing slated for 9:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday morning, March 7, 2007. We don't know whether an advocate on behalf of the U.S. workers who would be harmed will be given equal time.
Gates will claim that H-1b workers are paid the “Prevailing Wage.” To the extent that this means "parity with what U.S. workers earn in the same jobs, this is false. DOL defines four levels of “prevailing wage,” and LEVEL ONE is about the 17th percentile of the average wage of U.S. workers within the job classification – over 80% of H-1b are at LEVEL ONE. DOL approves H-1b programmers to work in Silicon Valley for $40,000 per year - hardly a "prevailing wage" - and hardly an indication that these workers are the "best and brightest."
Gates will claim that there is a shortage of U.S. tech workers. This is false. Open a daily newspaper in a major metro area and note only a handful of computer programmer / software engineer job ads. (Also be aware that up to 50% of the ads are fake – they are run by employers to “prove that no Americans are available” to apply for greencards for their H-1B workers. The employers discard the applications of qualified Americans. There are 500,000 H-1b workers currently in the U.S. – most would like to become citizens. (See the fake ads that run each week in Sacramento Bee.)
According to analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in Q3 2006 American Software Engineers, Computer Scientists and Systems Analysts have lost jobs this year over last year - a net loss of 93,000.
Microsoft is not making a good faith effort to hire Americans: They do not recruit at ANY of the 22 CSU campuses in California. There is an Engineering Job Fair at CSUS next week. Microsoft is not participating.
There is no shortage of Americans entering this profession: In many schools, like UC San Diego, the programs are impacted and thus turning away qualified U.S. students.
Key propaganda in support of H-1B increase originates from the special interest group “American Immigration Lawyers Association” (AILA) to protect and expand their $100 million industry of processing corporate immigration documents. In fact the hearing for Bill Gates is being coordinated by former directing attorney of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Project, and illegal immigration proponent Esther Olavarria, who is now General Counsel and primary immigration advisor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy - Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration.
Gates will imply that the H-1b is only being used when no Americans are available. This is false, and is a key deficiency of the visa: It allows employers to sponsor and hire foreign workers EVEN WHEN THE EMPLOYER HAS AS STACK OF RESUMES FROM QUALIFIED AMERICANS WHO NEED THE WORK. Most H-1b have only average skills and work at average jobs - for below average pay. Why is Congress subjecting Americans to this? Displaced Americans have no legal recourse BECAUSE CONGRESS MAKES IT LEGAL!
Finally, the H-1b is having an unintended negative effect on the U.S. economy: Seven of the top ten H-1 users are not U.S. companies, but rather are Indian outsourcing firms which utilize the H-1b program to bring in Indian workers to train them before transferring these jobs and technologies back to India. This is a critical loss of U.S. infrastructure that Congress should stem rather than expand.
Rather than increasing the cap, Congressman Pascrell (NJ) has H.R. 4378, the “Defend the American Dream Act of 2005” that would add U.S. worker protections. With these protections in place, the current cap of 85,000 would never be reached, and Microsoft and others would have plenty of visas for those rare cases when no Americans are available.
The Programmers Guild advocates for a $5000 annual fee on H-1b, to provide up to $20,000 annually for tuition and expenses for Americans studying Engineering and Computer science.