Monday, April 30, 2007

Hershey highway leads to Mexico

Providing further evidence that offshoring is driven by lower wages rather than a shortage of labor in the U.S., Hershey plans to lay off 600 Americans at the company's only West Coast facility in Oakdale California, and transfer the manufacturing of Kisses, Reese's, Mounds, Almond Joy and such to a new facility in Monterrey Mexico.

Chief Operating Officer David J. West claims that "Oakdale manufacturing will transfer to the new Monterrey plant. If the 40 year old Oakdale plant was only running at 40% capacity, why did Hershey invest in a new plant in the first place?

These 600 Americans can blame the NAFTA "giant sucking sound" that Ross Perot warned of for their plight, but can take comfort that, globalists assure us, the net result of shipping jobs to Mexico is the creation of even more and better jobs in the U.S. But only the $2/hour jobs driving Mexican trucks of candy back into the U.S. comes to mind.

Kiss your job goodbye, as Hersey retains free access to the U.S. market which skirting U.S. labor standards.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Gutierrez-Flake STRIVE Act would open U.S. tech jobs to unlimited applicants from any country in the world

Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) (202) 225-8203 and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (202) 225-2635 incorporate parts of the SKIL Act into their comprehensive immigration reform STRIVE Act. Among the provisions of their Act would be to exempt from the H-1b cap anyone in any country with a master’s and higher degree in science, technology, engineering and math - obtained at any school anywhere in the world.

We are attempting to determine how many tech workers meet that criteria, but it could exceed one million. Many "masters degrees" from India are MCA degrees, and "most MCA recipients receive an education equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in computer science."

Employers running basic classified ads will be swamped with thousands of applications from immigration agencies, bodyshops, and individuals seeking visa sponsorship. Many will be willing to forgo benefits and 40 hour workweeks for the opportunity to become U.S. citizens.

It's no exaggeration that this one Congressional Act could destroy the careers of hundreds of thousands of highly skilled Americans, and disuade the next generation of Americans from entering tech professions. (See James McMurtry perform "We can't make it here.")

First Congress tore down trade barriers, allowing America's best jobs to transfer overseas. Now they am to flood in foreign workers to fill the remaining good jobs, in a U.S. economy increasingly based on McJobs and Servants.

Employers opposed to advertising positions and recruiting Americans before sponsoring H-1b workers to fill U.S. jobs

Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the “H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud Prevention Abuse Prevention Act of 2007.” (S.1035) According to a bulletin by immigration attorney Greg Siskind, employers object to the time and expense of offering jobs to Americans:

"The chief objection to this usually relates to the details of the recruiting requirement and how this would significantly slow the process for bringing in a worker that may be needed immediately. Employers would have to advertise a position for 30 days before they could seek an H-1B approval."
H-1b proponents also object that the Durbin-Grassley bill would stem H-1b bodyshops. "This is seen as potentially very disruptive to the information technology sector..." writes Siskind. Rather than being hired for a specific job, H-1b bodyshops first secure H-1b workers, then they agressively apply for external job openings. Legally U.S. employers cannot give preference to Americans - even when several American applicants are clearly qualified for the job: If just one of the 100 H-1b resumes from H-1b bodyshops is "more qualified," by law, the employer must hire the H-1b, or be subject to a claim of "discrimination based on immigration status or national origin" - thus drumming up more business for AILA lawyers.

Currently the DOL and USCIS know of 130,000 U.S. job openings that will not be filled until October 2007. But these agencies will not disclose these jobs to U.S. workers. Instead they conspire against Americans by reserving these jobs for H-1b workers. The Durin-Grassley bill would require that DOL make post the job openings represented by H-1b applications on their website for 30 days, giving Americans the opportunity to inquire about the positions.

Both AILA and H-1b employers are aware that qualified Americans are being displaced by H-1b workers. And their opposition to the basic protections in the Durbin-Grassley reveal their true motive of keeping it that way.

This "we don't have the time to hire American workers" posture goes far beyond any legitimate claim of a labor shortage. Congress should act in the interests of American workers and co-sponsor the Durbin-Grassley protections.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Immigration attorney alleges that many of the 130,000 H-1b applications were duplicates

In his blog "IS THIS CHEATING?" AILA member Gregory Siskind warns of "many companies sending in multiple H-1B applications for the same employees." Siskind speculates that the reason employers filed multiple applications is to improve the odds that at least one of the applications would be selected in the lottery. "The sole goal is to increase one's odds at the expense of others," writes Siskind.

USCIS could have avoided this lottery sham by giving preference to the higher-paid applications. But USCIS stated that they deem hotel clerks equally qualified as genetic researchers. USCIS has already completed their lottery, gambling away another 65,000 U.S. jobs, in spite of qualified Americans available to fill them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

UCLA lobbying against their own American students

As reported in the 4/18/2007 Daily Bruin, UCLA is lobbying to increase the H-1b cap. The article fails to reveal the substantial harm that the increase will have on UCLA's predominately American students, both immediately upon graduation and throughout their careers as they try to compete for jobs in a job market where employers can select from resumes arriving from the poorest countries on earth. (India and China alone have seven times the population of the U.S.)

The article fails to reveal that the reason H-1b cap is being reached is not because of foreign graduates from U.S. schools, but rather due to the flood of graduates of foreign universites. Unlike UCLA graduates, these graduates do not have huge student loans and thus can accept lower pay, driving down all wages.

The article closes with this gem by Bernard Wolfsdorf, national second vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which lobbies for more H-1b to increase their $100 million industry of processing these visas:

“The fact of the matter is immigrants don’t take jobs, they create jobs.”
This is false. Some employers claim that up to 90% of the applications they receive are from H-1b or people seeking H-1b sponsorship. Under the law of averages, a substantial number of Americans are not getting jobs they apply for due to the H-1b visa - which contains no requirement to first recruit American workers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

H-1b master plan: move 40 million high-skill American jobs to other countries

In her commentary New threat to skilled U.S. workers, Froma Harrop explains how the H-1b visa is facilitating the transfer of up to 40 million high-skill American jobs to other countries. "Princeton economist Alan Blinder predicts that these choice jobs could be lost in a mere decade or two." She gives Ron Hira more than the sound bite that H-1b opponents are typically allocated. She closes by accurately implying that Kennedy and McCain are liars.

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina’s position on shipping millions of U.S. jobs overseas is clear - as she was laying off thousands of American workers - and exemplifies the vision of many U.S. CEOs:

"There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore," Fiorina commented in a recent speech in Washington. Not the most sensitive comment to make in light of the number of unemployed Americans suffering these days. This Marie Antoinette-inspired remark makes me wonder if HP hasn't already offshored its public relations department.

"We're trying to move everything we can offshore." - HP Services chief Ann Livermore ... HP figures a good high-end programmer in India costs about $20,000 a year, about a quarter the U.S. cost. And things could get even cheaper. "We see China gaining on India about three or four years from now."

Please read the commentary here:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

World's top Universities are not in India or China

Newsweek ranked global universities on several factors. Their "Complete List: The Top 100 Global Universities" reveals that the top schools are disporportionately in the United States: Eight are in California. In contrast, none appear to be in India or Mainland China.

Furthermore, "Where the Engineers Are" published by the National Academy of Sciences found that "there are serious deficiencies in engineering graduates from Indian and Chinese schools." Their research revealed that many "masters degrees" from India (comprising a disproportionate number of H-1b) are really MCA degrees. And "Most MCA recipients receive an education equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in computer science."

Contrary to claims by corporations and other proponents of increasing the H-1b cap, companies are not offshoring to chase the top talent: "Our research shows that companies are not moving abroad because of a deficiency in U.S. education or the quality of U.S. workers. Rather, they are doing what gives them economic and competitive advantage."

The study also refutes that there is a shortage of engineering graduates in the U.S.:
"Graduating more engineers just because India and China graduate more than the United States does is likely to create unemployment and erode engineering salaries. One of the biggest challenges for the engineering profession today is that engineers’ salaries are not competitive with those of other highly trained professionals: It makes more financial sense for a top engineering student to become an investment banker than an engineer. "
Rather than flooding in more H-1b, Congress should examine why engineering salaries are failing to keep pace with other professions. One factor might be the H-1b program itself, which Congress has capped salaries at $60,000 for several years as the limit which an employer who hires exclusively H-1b workers is not deemed "H-1b Dependent."

Raising H-1b cap will accelerate loss of U.S. jobs and technology to India

Reporting from Mumbai India, Anand Giridharadas' article "Outsourcers corner market for U.S. skilled worker visas" (International Herald Tribune, April 12, 3007) explains how the H-1b visa is "now a critical tool for Indian outsourcing vendors to gain expertise and win contracts from Western companies to transfer critical operations to places like Bangalore."

"It has become the outsourcing visa," the Indian commerce minister, Kamal Nath, said by telephone this week while attending global trade talks in New Delhi, at which India is pushing the United States for a larger H-1B quota.

"If at one point you had X amount of outsourcing," he said, "and now you have a much higher quantum of outsourcing, you need that many more visas."

Last year eight of the 10 largest H-1B applicants were outsourcing firms with major operations in India. U.S. SEC filings reveal that Infosys alone had 6,800 U.S. employees on H-1Bs as of September 2006. In 1998, the figure was 231.

Tata Consultancy Services sent Atul Pevekar to Minnesota on an H-1B. His assignment: to work with a U.S. retailer to relay its information technology needs back to TCS's Indian staff, to which the retailer has outsourced scores of jobs. "I am a link between the people who are doing coding in India and the client."

Losing jobs and technology to India is not in the best interests of the U.S. or of U.S. citizens. Congress needs to suspend the H-1b program now.

Senator Chuck Hagel assaults U.S. tech workers with (S.1092) “The High-Tech Worker Relief Act of 2007”

U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (202) 224-4224 [I spoke with Jennifer 4/18 9:30am EDT - she could not explain why it should be legal for an employer to discard the resumes of 100 qualified Americans and instead sponsor an H-1b] has introduced “The High-Tech Worker Relief Act of 2007.” This legislation will increase the number of H-1B high-tech industry visas from 65,000 to 195,000, with exemptions that would make it virtually unlimited. His bill contains no protections for American workers from displacement. According to Hagel:

“The severe shortage of H-1B visas is a nation-wide problem, and Nebraska is directly affected. The demand in Nebraska for these highly qualified individuals in fields such as health care and computer science far out number the supply. This legislation is important to helping keep America competitive in the 21st Century workplace.”

The article perpetuates an H-1b myth by writing: "Many industries use H-1B workers to fill jobs when American workers can’t be found."

This is false. Aside from no requirement to first recruit American workers before hiring an H-1b, the study "American Made" found at page 24 that in the majority of cases employers do not hire H-1b to fill a shortage shortage of skilled U.S. workers, but rather because they simply desire to hire a specific foreign worker. This could be an Indian immigrant preferring to have other Indians on the team, or a desire to hire family members or former associates from the home country. (Many companies founded by Indians are comprised almost exclusively of Indians - "Americans Need Not Apply.")

The article then lists H-1b visa users in Nebraska. I've added a hyperlink to their LCAs

  • Union Pacific (Union Pacific Railroad) or (Union Pacific Corporation) (About 20 H-1b over a 5 year period. These are large corporations so a few H-1b per year should not be a significant factor either way.)

  • Streck Labs (5 researchers, 4 earning under $40,000)

  • First Data (2 VP H-1b earning $170k. 66 total H-1b, median around $60k. Their website lists several open IT jobs)

  • Valmont (Only 5 H-1b over a 4 year period - they are unable to hire one American per year? Median pay $48k)

  • Terracon (here) and (here) (52 H-1b over a 5 year period, but only 2 of the H-1b are in Nebraska)

  • Western Electric (No LCAs found)

  • DTL Industries (No LCAs found - unable to find alternate company name via Google)

  • NIC USA, Inc. (30 LCAs for software jobs paying around $70k, but all are in Kansas)

  • Omaha Public Schools (here) and (here) and (here) (40 school teachers over 5 years earning about $35k)

  • Lexington Public Schools

  • Great Plains Regional Medical Center (4 physicians over a 3 year period, earning - holy cow - $250,000. They have about 70 physicians in the directory, so one H-1b per year is not going to make or break this facility.)

  • Mary Lanning Hospital (21 H-1b over 5 years, half are technologists and therapists earning under $20/hour)

The vast majority of employers in Nebraska get along fine without any H-1b workers, and with a bit more recruiting the above employers could fill every position with American workers. These examples do not support raising the cap but rather that Congress should suspend this "U.S. Worker Replacement Program."

America already has a President bend on destroying the American middleclass. Sorry, we don't need another one.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Yappy-headed Yoh Index reveals dramatic underpayment of H-1b workers

As reported by the SF Chronicle and InformationWeek, Yoh conducted a survey of technology wages, finding that "highly-skilled technology professionals are making more money than ever." The survey claims very high average wages for typical IT jobs:

  • NET Developer $53.40
  • Database Administrator $59.80
  • ETL Developer $66.52
  • Hardware Engineer $75.68
  • Java Developer $57.27
  • SAP® Functional Consultant $76.67
  • Technical Consultant $83.72

These are the types of skills that employers are filling with H-1b workers, and these figures suggest a median salary well into six figures. But the average pay for H-1b workers performing these jobs is roughly half of these rates. See the figure in this article, for example.

If such jobs exist, where are they? Not at Yoh Consulting. A search of their openings reveals that Yoh pays substantially below what they claim is an "average wage":

Furthermore Yoh pays its own H-1b workers around $50,000 for most positions.

Proposal: In order to protect the wages of U.S. workers, USCIS should only approve those H-1b applications that pay at least the average wages of the Yoh study. Under that basic wage protection it's unlikely that more than 1% of the pending 133,000 applications would be approved.

News Flash: Corporate executives and lawyers are big fat liars: H-1b can be hired even when qualified American workers are available

According to the New York Times article "Lottery Used to Narrow Work Visa Petitions" (By JULIA PRESTON April 14, 2007):
"Corporate executives and lawyers said that employers seeking visas for immigrants must demonstrate to the Department of Labor that no American workers are available."

UPDATE: On April 18th the New York Times ran a correction stating "Employers do not have to show that no American workers were available for the job. "

This myth was also repeated by the Los Angeles Business Journal in "Hire Anxiety" (By BOOYEON LEE April 16, 2007) :

"The H-1B visa program allows companies to employ highly skilled engineers,scientists and computer programmers with expertise that cannot be found in the American workforce."

On March 2nd the LA Times made the same error. The Programmers Guild pointed out their error. And on March 18th the LA Times published this correction:

Visa fraud: A story in the March 2 California section about two attorneys charged with visa fraud said that to obtain an H-1B visa for a foreign worker, a company must prove it cannot find a qualified U.S. employee to fill the specific job. There is no such requirement, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. —

Among that Guild's core objections to the H-1b is that it has allowed "corporate executives and immigration lawyers" to legally displace 500,000 highly skilled U.S. workers from their professions with foreign workers that are paid $10,000 to $25,000 below the average pay of U.S. workers in the same job classifications.

US DOL's Strategic Plan on page 35 states:

H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker.

Vaguely attributing a false claim to "corporate executives and lawyers" does not excuse the publication of false statements. Both of these major publications should publish a timely correction, and embed the correction within the web version of the article, as the LA Times did.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

USCIS deems hotel clerk and PhD Genetic Researcher as "equally qualified"

Even after the H-1b applications for U.S. grads with masters degrees are processed under the separate 20,000 quota, there are 119,193 other H-1b applications for 65,000 slots. Historically these requests will range from hotel clerks and accountants earning less than $16 per hour, to genetic researchers earning over $100,000.

In the Wednesday April 11, 2007 article Most H-1B seekers lack grad degrees in SF Chronicle, staff writer Tom Abate covered our suggestion that "immigration officials should hand out the remaining visas based on salary -- a proxy for skill -- rather than by chance. "

(NOTE: This article was later retracted due to the technical error that many of the H-1b within the 65,000 quota hold masters degrees from foreign universities. But the points raised in this blog are independent from that issue.)

Immigration spokeswoman Sharon Rummery said that by law the remaining visas must be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. "As far as we're concerned, they're all equally qualified," she said.

Rummery's position is illogical and as far as we know not mandated by any statute: A "lottery" is not "first-come, first served," and arguably a genetic researcher is more qualified than a hotel clerk.


More importantly, this Chronicle article reveals that we have not come close to reaching the cap on U.S. grads with advanced degrees.

H-1b proponents like Compete America and ITAA argue ad infinitum that we need more H-1b because 50% of graduates with advanced degrees (MS or higher) are foreign students, and we should not be rejecting these "best and brightest." They argue this because they know at the BS level the vast majority of U.S. Engineering and Computer Science graduates are Americans.

So watch ITAA pedal backwards:

"Jeff Lande, spokesman for the Information Technology Association of America, argued that the crush of applications makes the case for a higher H-1B quota. Reacting to Berry's comment about the number of applicants with bachelors degrees, Lande said critical skills vary from job to job, adding that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates didn't finish college but would certainly qualify as one of the world's "best and brightest.""

If finishing college is not a proxy for skill, then why does Microsoft require at least a BS degree for every position? Why do so many positions require an MS degree?

All this proves is that Bill Gates would have no chance of getting hired by Microsoft through the HR bureaucracy intended to filter out the thousands of applicants for each position.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Programmers Guild supports the Durbin/Grassley "H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007"

S.1035 by Durbin and Grassley would add some basic protections for U.S. workers to the H-1b guestworker program. The bill is here.

The bill makes the "recruitment of U.S. workers provision" apply to all H-1b employers. Currently only the 1% of "H-1b-dependent" employers must first recruit U.S. workers. The statutory provisions of this recruitment are here.

Unfortunately the bill still permits the displacement of qualified U.S. workers with H-1b - see the last paragraph of the link above: "The employer is required to have offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the job than the H-1B nonimmigrant." The problem is that "better qualified" is highly subjective: Who is "more qualified" - a candidate with a BS degree and 3 year's experience, or a candidate with an MS degree and 1 year experience? An employer could argue this either why, when in fact both candidates are "qualified." This should be fixed - and H-1b should only be hired when no qualified Americans are available and need the job.

This bill bars the "displacement of U.S. workers." Currently it is legal for employers to use the H-1b visa to displace qualified American workers. The statutory provisions of this non-displacement are here.

The bill calls for a prevailing wage based on the average wage of U.S. workers in the same classification, as opposed to the 17th percentile if the current "prevailing wage."

The bill calls for jobs to be advertised on the DOL website for 30 days. While this is an improvement over the current disclosure several months after the fact, in our opinion it falls short. We call for:

1) Jobs publicly posted on DOL website for 30 days
2) Candidate publicly apply with summary resumes during those 30 days. (much like posting feedback to an article - no "new technology" required)
3) After 30 days, if employer still plans to hire the H-1b, employer posts a public statement explaining why none of the U.S. worker applicants were suitable.
4) U.S. candidates given 15 days to post objections.
5) This exchange remains public record and can serve as evidence for civil and criminal cases.

Even the current "must demonstrate that no qualified U.S. workers are available" in order to get a greencard under PERM rules has degenerated into a sham of:

1) Employer runs a few fake job ads
2) Employer internally ignores all qualified applicants
3) Employer files copies of the fake job ads as evidence of "good faith" recruiting, when it is just the opposite.

Information and examples of these PERM fake job ads is here

Finally the bill authorizes the hiring of 200 DOL personnel to effect these protections. This cost of roughly $10 to $20 million should be borne as fees to users of the H-1b program rather than supported by taxpayers.

Fiscal Year 2006 H-1b LCA Data available from DOL

You can download the FY 2006 LCA data as an Access database from the DOL website here. For LCA searches, a more convenient option is to search at

If prior years are an indication, DOL will not release the FY 2007 until after the jobs are filled with H-1b workers in October 2007. We would not want any Americans taking these jobs that the U.S. Goverment has reserved for foreign workers.

"Silly Americans, U.S. tech jobs are for Indians."

H-1b proponent RTKL Associates pays their H-1b architects $32,000 salaries

In the March 29, 2007 article "Tech worker visa scramble begins," Debra Fiori, director of human resources for RTKL Associates, a Baltimore-based architecture firm alleged that "There's a shortage of U.S. workers in architecture and engineering" and explained how RTKL was preparing to beat the H-1b filing deadline for several H-1b applications.

What RTKL failed to disclose is that, according to Department of Labor LCA records, RTKL pays their H-1b architects a wage as low as $32,000. (While some are Intern positions, most are not, and only three about 100 H-1b positions pay more than $60,000 salary.)

Furthermore, in spite of RTKL’s claim of a labor shortage – and no access to H-1b workers for several months – their website lists only a handful of open positions in each major city.

H-1b Proponents claim that the program has substantial wage protections for U.S. workers. But DOL approved these $32,000 architect positions.

Indian companies invest millions to train Indian workers - Why don't U.S. companies do the same?

This April 7, 2007 AP article "Back to class at Infosys" reveals how India is handling its shortage of tech workers: Rather than lobbying the Indian goverment for programs that would flood in foreign workers, the employers are spending a fortune to train their domestic workers.

Infosys, for example, spent $350 million on a 500,000-square-foot education complex campus, and will spend $140 million in 2007 alone.

While H-1b proponents allege that H-1b workers from India are the "best and brightest," this article reveals that most are poorly trained: "Indian schools churn out 400,000 new engineers every year, but as few as 100,000 are actually ready to join the job world, experts say."

We face a similar situation in the U.S. where tens of thousands of tech workers with proven records and at least BS degrees cannot find work. Microsoft and other employers summarily reject these applicants as "not a good match" because, for example, they have 5 years of experience in C++ rather than C# - or as subtle age discrimination.

The United States made Bill Gates the richest man in the world. It's time to give back. Rather than abusing your weath to lobby for "unlimited H-1b visas," why not spearhead a similar training complex for U.S. workers?

During the 1990s many U.S. tech companies viewed their workers as long-term investments and provided training to keep their skills current. But the H-1b program turned U.S. tech workers into short-term commodities. And until the flood of H-1b is stemmed, displaced U.S. workers cannot reenter the workforce by simply retraining themselves since employers require at least 1 to 5 years of verifiable on the job experience in specific technologies.


Congress should suspend the H-1b program until U.S. corporations show the same good faith investment in U.S. workers that Indian companies are giving their workers.

UPDATE: This July 31, 2006 article Infy hires in US, trains in India details how InfoSys runs a six month intensive training program that takes even liberal arts majors and within six months places them on software projects in the U.S. Why can't Microsoft, Google, and Oracle do the same?

Friday, April 6, 2007

USCIS should use wage to determine which H-1bs to grant

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received 133,000 H-1b applications for 65,000 slots. According to this San Francisco Chronicle Article "Feds planning lottery to hand out H-1B visas":

"'In a few weeks we'll select the applications through a computer-generated random system. Since all applicants are well qualified, that's the only fair thing to do,' said Sharon Rummery, regional manager for the citizenship office in San Francisco."
The Programmers Guild disagrees that a "random lottery" is "the only fair thing to do." Many of these H-1b will be used by Indian bodyshops that grossly underpay their employees. We advocate instead that the applications that pay the highest wage should be given priority. The H-1b program is allegedly intended to bring in the "best and brightest" - which presumably are being paid the higher wages.

The USCIS should not arbitrarily discard a top candidate earning $100k in favor of a marginal bodyshop programmer earning $40k.
(Information Week reported this proposal on April 9th: As The H-1B Visa Cap Filled In Record Time, Reform Is In The Air.)

Programmers Guild on Lou Dobbs April 5, 2007

Lou Dobbs and his correspondent Bill Tucker can see through the corporate smokescreen of how the H-1b is being used to undermine U.S. software professionals - as part of corporate war on middleclass Americans. On April 5th the Programmers Guild gave their perspective on why the H-1b cap was reached in one day.

CLICK HERE to view the video clip and read the transcript of the segment.