Tuesday, April 4, 2017

H1-B Visa Deadline Day

Fed-Ex is doing a land-office business delivering applications for H1-B visas to La Guna Niguel, California. 65,000 U.S. visas are issued annually to companies importing foreign tech workers; last year there were 236,000 applicants. On Monday, opening day of the sweepstakes, the Fed-Ex driver, first at the gate, said he had 15,000 pieces of "mail" to deliver and many more were on the way. The rush is on because the rules are up for changing. NYTimes 

As background to the problem recall the 2015 Disney World lay-offs of 250 tech workers who were to be replaced by contract workers from India. That was scandal enough, but the knife was twisted by Mickey Mouse requiring the 250 to train their replacements as part of their severance agreement.  As Congressional hearings revealed other companies like Southern California Edison did the same in cashiering employees in favor of H1-B visa holders.

The plight of tech workers along with farmer's worried about planting and harvesting crops underline the shabby state of our immigration laws and the vexing problem for U.S. workers at both lower-paying and higher-paying jobs. Will Trump deliver a solution?


  1. So, if I read this correctly, the U.S. government (i.e., all of us) is spending a large amount of time and money processing foreign applicants for companies who want to hire foreign professionals on the cheap, keeping wages low and reducing job oops for Americans?

    At the very least, make companies who benefit from this process pay for it.

  2. The end of the story makes a big deal out of the fact that the process is not automated, hand-delivered, hand-opened, hand-sorted. Given that this is techie territory, you'd think that some computer processing would be in place.

    On the other hand, I hope our government is paying the crew more than minimum wages...

  3. Perhaps this program was not used nearly so often in the recent past, so automating it didn't make sense?

    As for companies looking for cheap labor, aren't unpaid interns and contract workers enough? Really there is no end to the schemes business has to screw workers.

    It's becoming clear how and why the middle class is shrinking.

  4. The Times story I posted makes a distinction between tech workers whose applications come from what sound like high-end jobs...Google? Apple? Etc. The low-end jobs are contractors, in India is appears, who apply for multiple visas for multiple people; that's what Disney and Edison were doing...contracting jobs out to foreign contracting companies...

    Middle class shrinkage, indeed...and middle class getting screwed.

  5. My hubby was one of those people who worked at a major oil company and was tasked, along with the rest of his department, with training their replacements in the Philippines. After that it was "good-bye, good luck and don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on your way out."

    It's cheaper to "offshore" the jobs than to import the skills. White collar workers are learning, to their dismay, that that fancy degree and neat suit don't mean diddly when it comes to job "security."

  6. As a nation we have had numerous chances to make our immigration system more rational and less dysfunctional. To date we have failed to do so. I don't have any confidence in Trump to be able to deliver a solution; because that's not what he does. He maximizes chaos.
    Not the same as the H1-B visas, but related to them are the H2-A visas. They are meant for seasonal agricultural workers. It's easy to say, "Just give the jobs to Americans." But it's not that simple. Sometimes the American workers are not available. Here is an article about produce farmers in our area who are also worried about obtaining documentation for their workers in time for the growing season.

  7. Well, Jimmy Mac, I guess your spouse's job isn't one the fossil fuel companies are always bragging we'll save if we just let them eff up the world. The last thing they want to save is anybody's job. Anybody who does real work, at any rate.