Brad Feld

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More on the H-1B Visa Nonsense

Dec 22, 2007
Category Random

My friend Ben Casnocha recently wrote a paper for school – he’s got an adapted version up on his website titled Analysis: H-1B Visa Issue in AmericaHe dug up a deliciously moronic quote and summary from a CRS Report for Congress titled Immigration Reform: Brief Synthesis of Issue

"Those opposing increases in temporary workers assert that there is no compelling evidence of labor shortages."  Norman Matloff of UC Davis, a forceful critic of H-1B expansion, says that U.S. companies do not import foreign workers to fill a labor shortage. If there were truly a shortage, starting salaries for grads with bachelor’s degrees in computer science or engineering would be rising (they are not), and technology companies wouldn’t hire only 2% of their job applicants as they wouldn’t have the luxury to be so picky.  And they don’t want more foreign workers in hopes of recruiting the best and brightest, according to Matloff. The average H-1B visa employee earns in the $65,000/yr range, far below what top talent commands. Rather, they want more foreign workers because they can pay them less to do the tasks currently done by domestic workers. (The law requiring employers to pay the "prevailing wage" is largely ignored in the industry.) In short, an increase in cheap H-1B talent would probably displace the American IT worker.

Aha – I’ve got it.  Let’s make sure we only hire American’s and keep everyone else out of the country.  And technology companies – stop being so damn picky with your hiring.  If you’d just hire people that weren’t as smart, you wouldn’t need non-Americans. 


And – if you need more for your inner cynic, how about the article in today’s Rocky Mountain News titled Clouds hover in ethanol sky.  E85 (assuming you can find it) apparently costs 78% less than regular unleaded gas but gets 71% less per gallon.  Since it’s 85% ethanol, it presumably is less polluting (assuming that the total ethanol lifecycle consumes less energy than gasoline) but doesn’t save the consumer any short term money.