[linux-elitists] Re: H1-B

Marc MERLIN marc@merlins.org
Sun Feb 9 08:48:43 PST 2003

On Sun, Feb 09, 2003 at 08:29:14AM +0000, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> >     KMS> http://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B/ 
> > 
> > This one is indeed shameful.  It actually tries to play on the fear
> > Sept 11 caused along with resentment unemployed people have for
> > foreigners working in the US.  
> It also makes some good points.  I'm leaving it, on balance, for the
> present.  If someone can suggest other sites making a good case of the
> issue, I'll consider them.
Karsten, this site is not worthy of your posting. It's an ignorantly
written list of points put together, some being very dubious.
The other site you post before is much better written, you should limit
yourself to that one.
I mean, just "Given the tragic events of September 11, 2001, all
nonimmigrant visas should be immediately halted in the interest of
national security." should be enough to show that the author is nothing
short of pathetic.

Actually, I love this one too:
"ShameH1B agrees with Donnelly that given a choice, it is better to
issue green cards than H-1B visas. BUT THAT DOESN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
It's almost comparable to giving a condemned man a choice of hanging or
lethal injections. The prisoner would probably agree that dying by
lethal injection is better"
> I have no objections to fair labor market practices.  The H-1B program
> is inherently unfair.

Note that I do not disagree with that.
The program is indeed both unfair to foreign workers and to US citizens
in some measure.

Things I have seen or things I agree with
- I have doubled my salary over the course of 3 years when I worked with
  Taos under an H1-B visa. Just to say that even though I had an H1-B, I
  was still able to negotiate my salary and get a decent pay.
- I however agree that many H1-B workers are paid below the average rate
- The H1-B situation used to really suck for the worker since the
  employer more or less held you by the balls. It's much better now that
  you can change employers and get a transfer approved in 15 days (used
  to be months, or more if you were unlucky enough to hit the quota)
- I personally lost about 500,000 dollars in stock options that I could
  actually have sold by not being able to join VA Research as an
  employee when I wanted to do so, because I was working for Taos which
  was sponsoring me for my green card.
- I can assure you that I didn't displace any US worker when I went to
  Taos: they hired everyone with skill that they could find
- At the same time, I am very aware that many companies, including Sun
  which is notorious for this, absolutely abused the H1-B system to
  get cheap(er) labor.

The other article, which I scanned, makes better points.  It says that
US companies prefer to hire an H1-B worker with work experience than
a US citizen coming out of school.
Well, I'm sorry to say that it's absolutely true, just like companies in
France only reluctantly hired students fresh out of school when they
could get people with former work experience.
Similarly, Nike has their shoes made in sweat shops in Asia, and VA
Software works with a software consulting company in India to maintain
code instead of paying US citizens to do so.

Like it or not, it's a global economy, H1-B or not...

I should however say that despite the job market, Google is still
struggling to hire good engineers and sysadmins. I think they hire a
fair number of talented engineers out of school, but for sysadmins, you
want someone who knows his job reasonably well when he's going to start
working on a cluster of more than 10,000 machines.

I've been phone screening and interviewing people since November, and
I'm sorry to say that most people I talked to, _after_ resume screening,
still sucked.
I can assure you that we're looking at people out of school just like at
people who have 10+ years experience, and US citizens just like
foreigners, and it doesn't make a huge difference (although our sysadmin
team of 10 people has 3 foreigners, and or netops team has 2 out of 5,
and also employs a partially disabled person because he is skilled and
that's all we care about)
While it's hard to be objective, I'm also fairly sure that they'd have
hired me out of school 5 years ago, because they'd have looked at what
I already knew even though I had no "accountable" work experience. My
point being that we give everyone a chance if we think they have clear

I know there are some skilled people on the market, but it is also
inundated with "so-so" people and downward scary ones.
This is kind of unfortunate since it makes hiring the good ones a needle
in a haystack search.


PS: I had a recruiter call me about you, I told him everything I could,
but he didn't seem very interested since we hadn't actually worked
"A mouse is a device used to point at the xterm you want to type in" - A.S.R.
Microsoft is to operating systems & security ....
                                      .... what McDonalds is to gourmet cooking
Home page: http://marc.merlins.org/   |   Finger marc_f@merlins.org for PGP key

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