Skip to comments.We Shouldn't 'Hire American' (Restricting H-1B visas for foreign workers amounts to protectionism)
Posted on 02/26/2009 5:43:58 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Can you stimulate the economy by shutting out foreign workers? Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chuck Grassley think so. And for all his anti-protectionist rhetoric, President Obama has shown surprisingly little interest in stopping them.
The stimulus bill the president signed into law restricts the use of bank bailout funds (money banks get from the Financial Stability Plan, formerly known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program) to hire skilled foreign workers under the H-1B visa program.
This slap at open labor markets is downplayed as a dramatic but toothless gesture in favor of "Hire American," nice companion to the "Buy American" provisions of the same bill. Anyone who finds either of these two concepts a good idea in times of crisis has not learned anything from history. This superficially patriotic protectionism is a knee-jerk reaction, the politicians' equivalent of kids scratching a wound when they should really know better.
Even in its present form, this clause can do great damage. In this case, the Sanders-Grassley strictures mean nearly all major U.S. banks and financial institutions--all recipients of bailout cash--have to demonstrate that when they hire foreign worker, they tried to, but couldn't, hire American worker instead.
Aptitude, training and skill level become, at best, secondary concerns, and the door to lawsuits is opened wide. The restrictions don't bar foreign hires (who can legally work in America with H-1B visa), but makes them cost-ineffective in most cases and imposes prohibitive burdens on recruitment of needed talent. Banks are not the only targets: the Big Three automakers, for example, are all on the Financial Stability Plan's dole, too.
The real problem, though, is the underlying principle of the law. The idea that native Americans (or Poles, or Koreans, or Egyptians) deserve special status in hiring is deliberate slap in the face of globalization.
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Except that the H-1B visa program is predicated on there being a worker shortage. Somehow, I don't quite think that applies lately.
I didn't realise that globalisation was a principle enshrined in American law....?
Not with unemployment heading into the double digit. They should freeze it until the economy improves and when there is not enough americans to fill jobs.
What a gigantic lie! We still have an H1-B program, but now we are just not having lobby groups shower congressmen with cash to expand that to ridiculous levels. There has basically been no change since this expired many years ago, despite the attempts of Microsoft, Hewlett Patel, and other entities that want to see the American job down the Ganges.
>is a deliberate slap in the face of globalization.
>I didn’t realise that globalisation was a principle enshrined in American law....?
Sorry, but this is one area where we need protectionism. Some people want no restrictions on their ability to make a buck, even if it means destroying America.
They were bringing in 240,000 H-1B workers during the 2002 IT slump. Shameless.
Do these clowns ever give even the slightest bit of thought to the future of this nation or is it all dollar signs right now?
I’m starting to think they want socialism because it’s the only possible outcome of driving millions of Americans out of work and replacing them with foreign workers.
If there's a shortage, then I'm sure American workers would be willing to work for market-level wages, not ones inflated via protectionism. Is that true, or are we seeing Americans claiming to have no work, but just not willing to work for less than they believe they should be paid?
Globalization in and of itself, can kiss my backside. Foreigners are not Americans, and as such do not enjoy the benefits of bring an American citizen. Importing foreign workers is insanity, unless it can be proven that you can’t find anyone for any price.
It’s all about lowering American wages, that’s all.
I saw the first people we replace with H1-B visa holders are people who write crap like this article.
I believe the number is fixed at 64,000.
I think the problem is that the liberals have been so effective at destroying the American educational system, there is a shortage of QUALIFIED workers.
I'm not quite sure how it is protectionist to adhere to the basic provisions of the H-1B visa guidelines, that the program should only be used to address bona fide labor shortages. If there is a surplus of labor (which there is now), guess what? Wages either stay the same or go down.
No, both parties want the laws of supply and demand to only work for employers, not employees. There are lots of qualified, older IT workers. But they basically get put out to pasture.
Globalization of the labor market = indentured servitude.
All labor markets in truly free societies are local, this is the mechanism that holds supply and demand for labor in balance. For decades we have made it too easy to import cheap labor. If these folks want to emigrate and become Americans, there are other mechanisms in place. If they just want to make money and remain Paki, I’m not in favor.
I saw several Indian Nationals on H1Bs being treated like crap by an agency of the US government when I was a contractor. They had to toe the line or the HR folks made their lives miserable. And the management exploited this every chance they got. The Indians were thankful to be here but knew they were on the short end of the stick.
I'm not sure, but a few weeks back IBM told some people if they want to keep their jobs, move to India willing to work on local terms and conditions. Thats it in a nutshell. One H1-B is one too many. They are not just displacing workers, but the alternative is to move to the old crap-hole the H1-B just vacated.
Someone should outsource all the publisher/editor/journalists of Forbes.
Who decides? Or to put it another way, who is the decider?
When 5 million people are on unemployment, it's a no-brainer that we don't need more workers coming to this country for now.
And so we should force the commpanies to hire UNQUALIFIED workers instead of qualified foreign ones, right?
Atlas gets restless with such things.
...and then trying to market here. The problem is threefold; the globalization of the corporation, the globalization of the financial system, and the globalization of labor. Cut one leg from under the stool and it will topple. And, if we lose IT jobs, well, aren’t these writers the same who always remind us we no longer make buggy whips?
So, working for employees, too...
"lots of" means the price goes down. But I bet many are not willing to take a salary cut to match what the supply/demand says.
So protectionists try to pretend it's not real.
Let them not hire. You don’t think this program is unsubsidized, do you?
We have borders for good reasons; not all neighbors are friendly.
That's the market.
My company has instituted a hiring freeze. Other companies are cutting salaries.
Your schtick is getting very stale. You should allow some reality to occasionally intrude into your views.
Well, let's make sure that most Americans end up living a third-world existence. After all, there is a huge pool of labor out there that exists on a few dollars a day, so that's really all a lot of Americans should be paid.
That's the ultimate endgame for your approach. Fortunately, Americans are realizing that there is more to having a country than allowing free market types to destroy it.
There are plenty of qualified American workers. Companies would rather import cheaper workers or hire illegal ones.
Now, look at neighborhoods where illegals live in large numbers. Why don't you show your commitment to free labor markets by moving to a house in one of those neighborhoods? I'm sure you won't mind the cars parked in the yards, the outdoor partying and urination and the crowding.
What passes as “free trade” today is a joke anyway. True free trade doesn’t require the WTO setting rules regulations, requirements, and quotas. True free trade doesn’t require set in stone trade agreements.
Real free trade is what we had prior to NAFTA when we could make or break deals according to our needs and who could give us the best deal.
Actually, the author's real problem is his complete idiocy with respect to the differences between the business and the country. An H1-B visa is a legal device for a worker to gain entry to the country. The business is free to hire the same individual absent the visa, but that individual would have to be based offshore.
The author also seems to believe that "globalization" is something more than a method by which the business owners are trying to make more money.
Can you tell I disagree vehemently with the author?
If there is a labor shortage in skill A, then having skill A becomes very lucrative. More US citizens see that and get skill A. It takes time but it balances out. It’s called supply and demand. The import of H1-b’s short circuits that. People are humans - not widgets or commodities. To people like Gondring, we are just economic units.
“All labor markets in truly free societies are local”
Have some facts that support that? Otherwise that is a very large unsupported assertion. In fact, globalization has been going on for a VERY long time. Learn some history and you’ll trip to that fact. Here’s one hint “silk road.” See also “1492.”
The tech companies are using the H-1B workers to replace American workers because the H-1Bs will put up with anything to have residency long enough to get their green card. They want to avoid going back to their home countries at all costs. Of course we have enough qualified American workers to do these jobs. It’s all about the all mighty globalization dollar.
Yes, because they would like to be competitive with companies that set up outside the US and can hire cheaper workers.
Why should an American get paid more for doing the same exact thing as a foreign worker? Why should I subsidize that?
Now, look at neighborhoods where illegals live in large numbers.
Illegals? They are illegal. This is about H-1B visas...you don't see such flouting of the law in that category, do you?
Nobody said free-market means that anyone can ignore all other laws.
Fact is, I am also going through a very difficult job situation wherein the best possible outcome is still not attractive (having to transfer, etc.) But if my employer tried to buck the market, guess what...the next competitor (and two others) are ready to step right in.
People are humans - not widgets or commodities.
I know it upsets people who think that they got a nice cushy job and they shouldn't have to be competitive, but reality is reality, no matter how tightly you close your eyes.
BTW, it's polite to ping someone when you write about him.
Is “the market” ok with illegal immigration? I saw my industry, commercial printing in Southern California, destroyed by illegal immigration over a span of about 15 years. I started as a driver for the company a couple years out of high school and worked my way up to a position in middle management. Who do you think was hired to drive the delivery van and do other entry level jobs in the 90’s? Illegals with bogus papers. Why were they hired? They cost a little less. You think they sat on their ass for 15 years? No, they get promoted, same as anyone else if they do a good job. But each time, it drags down wages a bit.
By 2003, the entire shop floor was Mexican. Wages stagnant in management for 5 years. Company went out of business in 2004. Couldn’t compete with China. The great majority of those jobs, MANUFACTURING jobs, were filled by illegals.
THAT’S the market, not some pie in the sky egalitarian economic theory.
My uncle closed the doors on his IT company a couple years back. He simply couldn’t compete honestly with competition that imported cheaper labor. He couldn’t in good conscience ask his employees to accept less money because of someone else’s lack of ethics.
In a sense it may be a good thing because now he’s teaching some sort of business ethics at UofM.
No, they want to pay American workers less.
This is about H-1B visas...you don't see such flouting of the law in that category, do you?
Once again - the H-1B visa is to be used when there is a SHORTAGE of workers. That is not the case now, unless you haven't quite realized that there are five million unemployed at the moment.
And beyond that, I saw plenty of nonsense firsthand by companies playing games with the requirements for hiring H-1B visa holders.
And my original point stands - when portions of American shrink to third-world status, will you show your committment to free labor markets by moving to one of those neighborhoods?
I didn't think so.
Some of us see there is more to this issue than finding the cheapest labor. We have a country to try and preserve.
I'm not laughing at the pain...I'm laughing at the fact that you somehow think that propping up the costs to the business would have made you more competitive...?!?!
Bottom line, we in America are generally overpaid and it's costing us. Nobody wants to hear that...nobody wants to face it...but it's true. And don't think that "Gondring wants wages to drop"...I don't, other than wanting to face reality.
Don't you see from your own example, that ignoring these realities just makes it even harder for American companies to compete against foreign ones?!
Will you move to the slums when all American companies have gone to where workers are not too good to work for the market wages?
If that happens, the slums will come to us. But don't worry, a few folks can live safely in their gated communities, like in South America, while the rest of the country rots.
Seriously, you might be mentally ill. If you think IT is an easy cushy job.....
There never was a shortage of skilled workers. There was, and alway will be in the minds of the "globalists", a shortage of CHEAP workers.
The law was written that the imported workers had to be paid the same as U.S. workers. I saw how that was gamed. The guys that hired out H1Bs put them on salary, worked them 60 hours a week and charged the clients only for 40. Who is going to hire an American who expects to be paid for those extra hours when you can get a desperate foreigner who will deliver (in some cases) 50% more for the same money?
All the high-blown rhetoric about the evils of "protectionism" and the joys of "globalism" are just code words for a Third World standard of living. If skilled American workers could be hired at $100 a week, the "shortage" would dry up over night.
Those who sing these glories have never faced this type of competition. In some cases they remind me of that "Life of Brian" segment where the guy in the dungeon is so brianwashed that he sighs "Oh, to be spat upon by the Romans".
H-1B workers are low wage ,drug free, cleanbackgound employees.
Yes there is a shortage of those type of employees.