Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Software Development Jobs at Microsoft

Bill Gates told the U.S. Senate that he needs more H-1b visas to fill the thousands of open positions at Microsoft. A search for "software development" openings returns 690 matches, but reveals interesting data:
  • 22 of the 690 positions were posted today (March 13, 2007)

  • Most of the positions were posted after January 20, 2007.
Since it can take several weeks to screen resumes, fly in candidates for interviews, make and accept offers, this reveals that Microsoft is filling the bulk of its positions in a timely manner. Since no H-1b visas are currently available, Gates must be finding sufficiently talented U.S. workers - and this in spite of minimal recruitment efforts, such as not recruiting at any of the 22 CSU campuses in California.

A search for "development" jobs at just one site in India returned 118 positions, which means in proportion to total number of positions, Microsoft is having more trouble filling jobs in India than in the U.S. Yet you won't see him lobbying India to admit an unlimited number of engineers from China.

REQUEST: Displaced and underemployed U.S. workers with BS degrees and several years of experience - please apply for some of these positions and advise us of the results.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Programmers Guild Rebuttal To Bill Gates Senate Testimony

Bill Gates’ testimony was published by ComputerWorld. Our analysis follows.


GATES: Another area where America is falling behind is in math and science education. We cannot possibly sustain an economy founded on technology pre-eminence without a citizenry educated in core technology disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, engineering and the physical sciences. The economy's need for workers trained in these fields is massive and growing. The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that, in the decade ending in 2014, there will be over 2 million job openings in the United States in these fields. Yet in 2004, just 11% of all higher education degrees awarded in the U.S. were in engineering, mathematics and the physical sciences -- a decline of about a third since 1960.

PG ANALYSIS: DOL long-term projections have notoriously been flawed, failing to consider the impacts of offshoring, etc. Gates’ “yet” is a non sequitur – the percentage of degrees that are engineering provides zero level of proof that any of these “job openings” will remain unfilled. On the contrary, in 2004 American colleges and universities awarded a record 233,492 undergraduate Science and Engineering degrees - more than enough to fill 2 million slots over a decade, writes Robert J. Samuelson in "A Phony Science Gap" in the Washington Post. (During questioning Bill Gates suggested that 300,000 H-1b per year would be a "good start" for an H-1b quota. But this would supply 3 million H-1b workers plus 2 million American workers to fill 2 million slots over the next decade - Does Gates plan to make Soylent Green out of the surplus 3 million U.S. engineers?)

GATES: To expand enrollment in post-secondary math and science programs, we should provide 25,000 new four-year, competitive undergraduate scholarships each year to U.S. citizens attending U.S. institutions and fund 5,000 new graduate fellowships each year. America's young people must come to see STEM degrees as opening a window to opportunity.

PG ANALYSIS: And what should be the source of these funds? The Programmers Guild presents a similar proposal based on solid economics: Increase the H-1b visa fee to $5000 per year, which would provide $20,000 per year to up to 125,000 U.S. citizens studying undergraduate engineering and computer science.

GATES: Over the next several years, six out of every 10 new jobs will be in professional and service-related occupations. Given the state of our educational system, it is not surprising that U.S. companies are reporting serious shortages of skilled workers. According to a 2005 U.S. Department of Education study, only 13% of American adults are proficient in the knowledge and skills needed to search, comprehend and use information, or to perform computational tasks. This yawning gap between America's economic needs and the skills of its workforce indicates that as a nation we are not doing nearly enough to equip and continuously improve the capabilities of American workers.

PG ANALYSIS: Why does Gates lump “professional” and “service” together? What if 95% of those new jobs are low-skill service jobs, while very few “professional jobs” are created? The DOE 13% finding seems absurd on its face, since – unlike Bill Gates - approximately 27% of Americans age 25 or older have a college degree. The Senate panel should have asked Gates how 50% of Americans got through college without those skills. While there is room for improvement in education, a key factor in the decline in American education was to overcrowd classrooms with a flood of non-English speaking students – in part engineered by Senator Kennedy in the 1960s.


GATES: As a nation, our goal should be to ensure that, by 2010, every job seeker, every displaced worker and every individual in the U.S. workforce has access to the education and training they need to succeed in the knowledge economy. This means embracing the concept of "lifelong learning" as part of the normal career path of American workers, so that they can use new technologies and meet new challenges. Neither industry nor government can achieve these goals if we act alone. Federal, state and local governments must help to prepare all of our workers for the jobs required in a knowledge economy. Workforce enhancement should be treated as a matter of national competitive survival. It is a down payment on our future, an extremely vital step to secure American competitiveness for future generations and to honor the American ideal that every single one of us deserves the opportunity to participate in America's success.

PG ANALYSIS: Into the 1990s many companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, considered their employees “lifetime investments” and would provide training opportunities to keep them current. The floodgate of H-1b workers reduced Americans to replaceable commodities. The first step to assuring a lifetime career path for Americans would be to abolish, not expand, the H-1b program.


GATES: I personally witness the ill effects of these policies on an almost daily basis at Microsoft. Under the current system, the number of H-1B visas available runs out faster and faster each year. The current base cap of 65,000 is arbitrarily set and bears no relation to U.S. industry's demand for skilled professionals. For fiscal year 2007, the supply did not last even eight weeks into the filing period, and ran out more than four months before that fiscal year even began.

PG ANALYSIS: Bill Gates has a narrow view of reality. Microsoft only accepts about 1% of job applicants, and indeed, EVERY computer programmer that Gates encounters at Microsoft has a job – he has no contact with programmers, with many years of experience and degrees up to PhD that are returning to school to learn nursing since they cannot find a job. Gates fails to cite the root cause why H-1b visas are being used up: They allow employers to sponsor H-1b in spite available qualified Americans, and pay these H-1b workers at the 17th percentile of prevailing wage.

GATES: For fiscal year 2008, H-1Bs are expected to run out next month, the first month that it is possible to apply for them. This means that no new H-1B visas -- often the only visa category available to recruit critically needed professional workers -- will be available for a nearly 18-month period. Moreover, this year, for the first time in the history of the program, the supply will run out before the year's graduating students get their degrees. This means that U.S. employers will not be able to get H-1B visas for an entire crop of U.S. graduates. We are essentially asking top talent to leave the U.S.

PG ANALYSIS: There is more than one solution: The Programmers Guild proposes that the best way to assure adequate H-1b for top talent is to stop giving them to bottom talent (or even to average talent).

GATES: As with H-1B visas, the demand for green cards far exceeds the supply. Today, only 140,000 permanent employment-based visas are available each year, which must cover both key employees and their family members. There is a massive backlog in many of the employment-based green card categories, and wait times routinely reach five years. Ironically, waiting periods are even longer for nationals of India and China -- the very countries that are key recruiting grounds for the professionals desperately needed in many innovative fields.

PG ANALYSIS: If DOL complied with the law and only issued green card in cases where “there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available” pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1182(5)(A) Labor certification. Far less than 140,000 would be issued. The DOL has instituted the PERM program that uses sham job ads to make this determination.

Additionally the top three users of H-1b in the U.S. are foreign corporations run by foreigners. Since the average American has no power to grant citizenship to foreigners, why are we granting our foreign competition the power to determine who becomes U.S. citizens?

GATES: In the past, we have succeeded in attracting the world's best and brightest to study and work in the United States, and we can and must do it again. We must move beyond the debate about numbers, quotas and caps. Rather, I urge Congress to ask, "How do we create a system that supports and sustains the innovation that drives American growth, economic opportunity and prosperity?" Congress can answer that question by acting immediately in two significant ways.

PG ANALYSIS: What year “in the past” is Gates referring to? During the dot-com boom of the 1990s we were admitting fewer H-1b workers annually than we do today.

GATES: First, we need to encourage the best students from abroad to enroll in our colleges and universities, and to remain in the United States when their studies are completed. Today, we take exactly the opposite approach. Foreign students who apply for a student visa to the United States today must prove that they do not intend to remain here once they receive their degrees. This makes no sense. If we are going to invest in educating foreign students -- which we should and must continue to do -- why drive them away just when this investment starts to pay off for the American economy?

PG ANALYSIS: What criteria would be used to determine who are “top students” from abroad? If any of the nearly three billion people in India or China could be assured of U.S. citizenship by simply enrolling in and completing an engineering or computer science program at a U.S. university, U.S. students would be squeezed out of these programs by literally millions of applicants. Many programs, such as UC San Diego, are already impacted. Then who is going to hire these graduates? Microsoft does not recruit at any of the 22 CSU campuses in California, for example.

GATES: Barring high-skilled immigrants from entry to the U.S., and forcing the ones that are here to leave because they cannot obtain a visa, ultimately forces U.S. employers to shift development work and other critical projects offshore. This can also force U.S. companies to fill related management, design and business positions with foreign workers, thereby causing further lost U.S. job opportunities even in areas where America is strong, allowing other countries to "bootstrap" themselves into these areas, and further weakening our global competitive strength. If we can retain these research projects in the United States, by contrast, we can stimulate domestic job and economic growth. In short, where innovation and innovators go, jobs are soon to follow.

PG ANALYSIS: Gates lost us on his point about how filling U.S. "management, design and business positions with foreign workers" will cause further U.S. job losses, but filling software jobs with foreign workers stimulates U.S. job growth.

Furthermore, the H-1b program is providing the conduit to offshoring, as reported by Business Week. Microsoft is using the H-1b in the same way, as reported in East Side Journal explained on October 10, 2002:

The road to Microsoft's future travels through the ancient lands of India. That future is a $10 billion initiative called Microsoft .NET ... Key pieces of the new system have and will come from India… Microsoft's offices at [Hyderabad's] Hi-Tec City not only recreate the look but also the feel of Microsoft's headquarters. In an e-mail from Hyderabad, Srini Koppolu, the IDC's general manager, said each programmer is free to take an idea to top managers at any time -- an open-door policy not common at Indian companies. ``The replication of Microsoft's culture has been possible because many people who worked in Redmond for many years have moved back to be part of the India Development Center,'' Koppolu wrote.

GATES: Second, Congress should expedite the path to permanent resident status for highly skilled workers. The reality for Microsoft and many other U.S. employers is that the H-1B visa program is temporary only in the sense that it is the visa we use while working assiduously to make our H-1B hires -- whether educated in the U.S. or abroad -- permanent U.S. residents. Rather than pretend that we want these highly skilled, well-trained innovators to remain for only a temporary period, we should accept and indeed embrace the fact that we want them to become permanent U.S. residents so that they can drive innovation and economic growth alongside America's native born talent.

PG ANALYSIS: Gates talks about "U.S. employers," but the top three H-1b users are Indian consulting firms that directly compete against U.S. firms, and gain market share by transferring these jobs and technologies back to India. These firms blantly discriminate against American workers and have no allegiance to the U.S. Gates advocates that we allow foreigners be given the power to petition each other for U.S. citizenship. The Programmers Guild disagrees that this is good national policy.

GATES: These reforms do not pit U.S. workers against those foreign born. They do not seek to make or perpetuate distinctions among the best and brightest on the basis of national origin. They simply recognize the fact that America's need for highly skilled workers has never been greater, and that broad-based prosperity in America depends on having enough such workers to satisfy our demand. Far from displacing U.S. workers, highly skilled, foreign-born workers will continue to function as they always have: as net job creators.

PG ANALYSIS: On this point Gates is clearly wrong. Americans are harmed each week when they apply to the PERM fake job ads and are denied the position in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1182(5)(A), They are harmed when a contract is given to an Indian consulting company and thus are laid off from their U.S. consulting company.


Bill Gates lacks sufficient understanding of the H-1b program and why U.S. workers are outraged by it. During questioning he said "there should be no limits on jobs that pay over $100,000 a year." Gates ignored that only about one percent of H-1b workers earn $100,000 per year, while many masses earn around $40,000 per year.

If Gates does not believe that H-1b is displaying U.S. workers, then would he champion legislation to prohibit such displacement? The U.S. Department of Labor Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2006 - 2011, Under Performance Goal 2H, "Address worker shortages through the Foreign Labor Certification Program", 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."

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Bill Gates Slated to Ask Congress for More H-1b Workers

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.

Oppose the Kennedy/McCain/Bush Comprehensive Immigration Reform

SACRAMENTO - March 3, 2007 - The pending comprehensive reforms allow 12 million illegal workers to retain their jobs with no requirement that their employers first try to fill the jobs with U.S. workers. Typically illegals are paid below market wages, giving an unfair advantage against employers who have complied with the law.
  • This is amnesty for the illegal aliens: They are granted a U.S. job and path to citizenship based solely upon their illegal entry to our country. This makes a sham of the 1986 “one time only” amnesty.

  • This is amnesty for employers of illegal aliens: These employers, such as landscape, roofing, drywall, restaurants, manufacturing, have gained market share by blatantly violating the federal employment verification statutes. They have driven down wages for all Americans in these professions. Now, with no penalty, they will be able to retain these cheaper workers.

These reforms create a guest worker program in a wide range of professions for which there is no shortage of U.S. workers. I do not oppose a strictly control guest worker program for migrant farm labor. But, as proposed, these guest worker programs would allow recent immigrants to use the program to bring in their friends and family as “employees” at the exclusion of Americans. All they would have to do is check a box “I could not find any Americans” and run a bogus classified ad – ignoring all applicants.

This undermines our free market labor supply/demand where the employer would have to increase wages to attract applicants. (In nearly every case there is not a shortage of workers, only a shortage of workers willing to accept the wages and terms offered.) The U.S. Government should not be in the business of undermining the natural market forces that retain our middle-class standard of living.

President Bush calls for a guest worker program "to match willing employers with willing foreign workers to fill jobs that Americans have not taken." What does that mean? Isn't every job in the classified section a job that, at the moment "Americans have not taken?" Might a job be "not taken" because it was never advertised or pays below market wages?

We already have this program with the H-1B and PERM Greencard guest worker program. Disproportionately Indians arrive, secure a software contract, then use the H-1B program to start bodyshops to bring in friends – or to sell U.S. citizenship for $10,000 under the table kickbacks. Rarely are such crimes prosecuted since both parties benefit. (This news article about the ASK Law Firm reveals the problems associated with allowing the private sector to manage who is admitted to the country – this is the tip of the iceberg of current abuse that would only increase under a massive guestworker program.)

California, like many other areas, already has too many people:

  • "Caltrans officials say they are in near-crisis mode: Freeways statewide are at their carrying capacity" ["Caltrans, city in traffic battle" (Sacramento Bee 2/16/2007 - Tony Bizjak)]

  • Prime croplands are being replaced with subdivisions.

  • Prisons are overcrowded.

  • Congress cannot assure that sufficient oil will be available for current Americans over the next few decades.
Legalizing 12 million illegal immigrants will substantially increase our population: Chain-migration occurs when an immigrant becomes a citizen. Citizens have a legal right to bring in family members other than spouses and children. They can bring in their parents, their adult siblings and the spouses and children of their adult siblings. What is the result?

WASHINGTON — Monday, May 15, 2006 -- U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) today unveiled an impact analysis that shows the Senate immigration bill – should it become law – would permit up to 217.1 million new legal immigrants into the United States over the next 20 years, a number equal to 66 percent of the total current population of the United States.

Amnesty is not in the U.S. economic interest:
  • The plan would flood in cheap labor that, not only would not pay federal income tax, but would often be entitled to the earned income credit.
  • Recent immigrants send over $56 billion back to their home countries each year. Over $15 billion bleeds to Mexico, $25 billion to South America and $16 billion to Asia. (Frosty Woodbridge “America's Death by a Thousand Cuts” March 2007)
  • The massive population increase would increase demand for imported oil and consumer goods, further exasperating our energy dependency and trade deficit with China.

Proponents of the comprehensive approach claim that it is not feasible to “round up and deport 12 million people.” I agree. But granting the citizenship and thus the ability to petition tens of millions of theirl their relatives – regardless of job skills or displacement of U.S. workers – is not a solution.

Furthermore the comprehensive plan does not stop illegal immigration. So in 20 years we’d have to grant another amnesty. If we don’t draw a line this will never end.

The comprehensive approach permit birthright citizenship anchor-baby to continue. Women from as far a China are making tourist trips to the U.S. to drop an anchorbaby, assuring themselves of a path the U.S. citizenship in the future.

Congress has considered changing the Constitution for trivial matters like flag-burning (I don’t recall the last time a flag was burned, nor that it was ever a “problem.”) So why do they lack the will to end this anchor-baby sham? The 14th Amendment pertained to granting citizenship to slaves, not to the children of visitor that hold citizenship in other countries.


First enact enforcement provisions, including tamper-resistant worker identification, and require all U.S. workers to re-verify their status – under penalty of jail for the employer, worker, and agent processing the application. Some sort of biometric measure is needed, such as thumbprint. Without work most illegals will return home without enforcement and legal appeals. (If the “comprehensive solution” does not include such provisions, it should not be called “comprehensive.”)