Monday, April 21, 2008

Development Design Group in Baltimore, MD, pays H-1b Architects $32,000 salary

Monday, April 21, 2008 Washington post article "For Visas, The Demand Outstrips The Supply - Firms Say They Rely On Skilled Immigrants" profiled architectural design firm "Development Design Group" in Baltimore, MD.

Chief executive Roy Higgs is quoted:

"Some people think this is just about bringing in cheap labor, but it's not. We offer the same salaries and perks whether you're from Baltimore or Bangladesh . . . but we simply cannot find enough qualified U.S.-born staff to fuel our growth."

The Washington Post failed to disclose the salary these H-1b workers are paid. But according to the DOL's LCA database, the MEDIAN is about $42,000, while over 25% earn less than $35,000. Now go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, where one finds that the mean wage for an architect in Baltimore is $69,210.

What skills are required? Development Design Group's website does not list any "entry level" openings, so we have to presume that their pending H-1b applications require these skills - including 3 to 7 years of experience:


Possess a thorough knowledge, understanding and experience in all phases of the design process including Concept Design, Schematic Design, and Design Development

3 ~ 7 years experience in a multitude of areas including but not limited to retail, mixed-use, entertainment, planning, urban design and residential

Strong design and graphic skills and sketching abilities

Excellent organizational skills

Proficiency with AutoCAD / ADT, Photoshop and other software

We think the facts speak for themselves - Roy Higgs is a "typical" user of H-1b - enriching himself by securing skilled labor at blue-light special salary, shirking his obligation to hire Americans at a fair salary.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords targets U.S. tech workers for displacement

It is well documented that qualified U.S. workers are being displaced by H-1b workers, even at the current cap of 65,000. See the testimonials at, for example.

What is Gifford's solution? To double the cap to 130,000. I left a message for staff C.J. Karamargin 520-881-3588 (or 202-225-2542) on March 20th but C.J. did not return my call.

According to the March 19th InfoWorld article "Bill would double cap on H-1B visas," she introduced the bill just one day after Bill Gates had testified before Congress - and no representatives of U.S. workers were invited to rebut Gates:

The Innovation Employment Act, introduced by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, late Thursday, would increase the cap in H-1B visas from 65,000 a year to 130,000 a year... Giffords sees the importance of H-1Bs because Southern Arizona has been growing as a hub for tech companies, Karamargin added. "There's a need to stay competitive and keep the momentum growing," he added. "That means making sure the talent is available to drive the local and national tech economy."


In my voicemail I asked C.J., roughly:

Can you name just two tech companies in Southern Arizona that cannot find qualified American tech workers, and failed to get H-1b workers to fill those positions due to the current H-1b cap or lottery?

According to Arizona Central CareerBuilder job search, there are 832 IT positions advertised. But there are also 1840 sales and marketing ads, and 2680 healthcare ads. So how did Rep. Giffords determine that IT workers rather than healthcare, sales, and marketing workers are what are needed to keep Arizona's economy strong?

The InfoWorld article states, "The bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B workers, then outsourcing them to other companies, he said. H-1B opponents have complained that outsourcing companies are among the top users of H-1B visas." Can you please show us in the bill where the top users of H-1b "InfoSys, TCS, Wipro..." would be limited in their use of H-1b? We can't find any such language.

Why didn't Rep. Giffords arrange to hear from the U.S. IT workers who will be impacted by her bill before submitting it? Does she care more about the profits of multi-national corporations than about assuring that U.S. citizens have priority for U.S. jobs?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

BusinessWeek exposes how Industry really uses H-1b workers

Listening to Compete America one would think that H-1b workers are the "best and brightest" in the world, contributing to "U.S. global competiveness." But as the 1/31/08 BusinessWeek article "Are H-1B Workers Getting Bilked?" exposes, H-1b are being used by Indian consulting firms to bring in cheap labor, driving American consulting firms out of business, and displacing highly-skilled U.S. workers.

First, Indian consulting firm Patni undercut American workers when DOL approved the labor condition applications for a "prevailing wage" of $44,000 per year. This is far below the "$45 to $80 per hour" that the Yoh study found to be the average for U.S. workers with "high demand" skills, such as "Database Administrator" and "Application Developer."

What Patni didn't disclose was that the $44,000 "salary" presumed that their workers put in lots of overtime. Their base pay was only $11.72 an hour - they were expected to reach their "salary" by working overtime. But even with 23 days of overtime, one H-1b's annual pay worked out to only $35,305 in 2004.

As State Farm in Bloomington Illinois was laying off their American staff, the LCA Database reveals that Patni Computer Systems was bringing in hundreds of Indians on H-1b visas - many placed at State Farm. As mandated by the U.S. Congress, the Department of Labor rubber-stamped these LCAs (labor condition applications) for wages as low as $27,000 for computer programmers. H-1b workers must have a minimum of a BS degree and specialized skills.

Many of the LCAs were filed by Dayanand Allapur, Vice President HRD 617-914-8367. Patni's main number Cambridge, MA is 617-914-8000

Among the Americans who lost their jobs was George Moraetes. He reports having "seen 4 - 5 H1-b's living in a one bedroom apartment" and that the same pattern of H-1b usage was employed by GE.

Contrary to helping the U.S. remain "globally competitive," the top users of the H-1b program are Indian consulting firms. They are transferring U.S. jobs and technology back to India and increasing the U.S. trade deficit. Without the H-1b and L-1 visa programs much of this loss of U.S. tech leadership would not be possible.

Patni is headquartered in Mumbai, India. Their website provides roadmaps for transferring manufacturing offshore:

The U.S. Congress needs to wake up to the imminent threat posed to the U.S. economy by shipping our manufacturing to China and now services to India. Or economy cannot sustain this growing trade deficit and gutting of U.S. infrastructure.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Flaws in University of Buffalo Spectrum's call for H-1b increase

The original article is here:

This is an image of the front page where it run in the printed edition.

ARTICLE: "Companies are very welcoming to international students because they can pay them less money than the local workers, even if their ability is equal," said Ping Lu, a sophomore management major from China

FACT: Industry would dispute this, claiming that H-1b has a "prevailing wage" requirement. We thank Ping for setting the record straight: H-1b workers are often preferred because they are willing to work cheaper for the opportunity to stay in the USA - and the "prevailing wage" is a sham.

ARTICLE: Henry Mok, a Malaysian student who graduated from UB with a B.S. in electrical engineering, applied to at least 80 jobs during his OPT in the Buffalo area. With only a few interviews and no job offers, Mok spent his summer perfecting his fishing skills at a friend's farm rather than his engineering expertise.

FACT: U.S. graduates are facing a similar job market. Mok's inability to find a job after sending 80 resumes refutes claims by industry that the H-1b cap needs to be raised to solve a labor shortage.

ARTICLE: Employers, in addition to being required by law to pay the fees, have to prove that they could not find any better qualified domestic workers instead.

FACT: The H-1b has no such requirement. Employers can overlook a stack of resumes from more qualified U.S. applicants and hire the H-1b worker instead. The impact on U.S. workers is evident at:

ARTICLE: The final step is to apply for the visa by April 1 - the first day applications are accepted. Students with a bachelor's degree are competing with over 100,000 others for an allotment of 45,000 visas.

FACT: The base cap is 65,000, not 45,000.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Programmers Guild presents at Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers

On Friday January 18, 2008 Kim Berry represented the "perspective of the U.S. worker" at the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers, held at UC Davis. PowerPoints of the presenters are in the above link, and an html-friendly version of my PowerPoint is here. The conference was the first of several being sponsored by a Sloan Foundation grant.

Norm Matloff's newsletter gave this account:

Kim Berry of the Programmer's Guild gave a really outstanding talk. I had seen his slides earlier, and they were fine, but his delivery greatly enhanced the content. Here was a real victim, speaking calmly yet with contained anger at the fact that all our respected institutions--both major political parties, the business community and academia--are complicit in maintaining that sham known as H-1B. His account of hiring decision meetings in which he participated, in which qualified American applicants were repeatedly rejected in favor of H-1Bs, ought to have been videotaped; his speech would have been just as effective the Cohen & Grigsby "TubeGate" videos.

I wish the entire event had been videotaped. But since no one else was taking video, and since some people might not want to ask or respond to hard questions on record, I chose not to tape my presentation. But here are a few of my talking points:

SLIDE 2: H-1b Influx is independent from labor market – 2000-2004 record H-1b influx

There is talk about revising the current 85,000 visa cap to a "market-based" cap. We have already tried a market-based cap: In 2001-2004 we had a virtual market-based cap. As documented by the San Jose Mercury News, during this period 25% to 50% of U.S. tech workers in Silicon Valley were pushed out of the job market. And during this same period H-1b influx was higher than at any time during the growth years of 1990-2000. How bad would the economy have to get before a "market-based" cap kicked in?

SLIDES 11-15 Americans are being displaced by H-1b’s lack of U.S. worker recruitment was launched on January 13, 2008. Already we have gathered dozens of testimonials of substantial harm by the H-1b program. These 5 slides summarized those testimonials.

SLIDE 25 Programmers Guild H-1b Reforms

The closing slide summarized the reforms that the Guild believes are necessary to add some level of protection for U.S. workers:

  • True prevailing wage of at least what average Americans earn within the same job classifications.
  • H-1b and L-1 LCAs only approved after the employer has conducted good faith, transparent recruitment, and was unable to find any qualified U.S. candidates, at any price.
  • H-1b only granted to U.S. business entities with as direct hires - not to consulting firms (Indian or otherwise) to be re-shopped against American job seekers.
  • H-1b to include a $1,200 annual fee that would be used to fund $15,000 scholarships for American college students in STEM programs - consistent with legislation that Senator Sanders has introduced twice.

I liked Stan Sorscher's graphs showing how until about 1980 the economic gains of industrial advancements were shared at all wage levels "what's good for GM is good for America." But since then the gains have disproportionately gone to the top income levels (the elite? The CEOs?). He continued by speculating that globalization is a force that separates the good of business from the good of citizens (one of his last PPT slides).

Lisa Spiegel, immigration attorney Duane Morris had argued that America benefits from H-1b since the $1500 fee is used for training programs. During my presentation I asked how many people would sell their careers for $1500? No hands went up.


As Norm reported in his newsletter, Jack Trumpbour of Harvard SEWP reported that Industry had told him that one thing they liked about workers in China is that 100% would take advantage of training programs, while in the USA only about 10% of workers were interested in training programs. I disputed this - in my experience at serveral companies, nearly 100% of workers were interested in and attended training programs when available. Jack Trumpbour stated that he would investigate this claim further. From PAGE 5 of Trumpbour's study:

    However, many other managers in China implicitly faulted U.S. engineers by noting that 100 percent of Chinese engineers will take training programs offered by the company, while U.S. workers pursue these activities in puny single-digit percentages. IBM China specifically expressed disappointment about the low U.S. participation in company training, but other global companies in China soon confirmed this disparity.

    Based on my experience I do not believe these claims by IBM managers that only 10% of workers in the USA would take advantage of company training programs. But we need some specific examples.