Not long ago, we took another psychological blow to our economy when Microsoft made the never-before announcement of layoffs. Having been in litigation as many times as they have, it is really amazing they haven't escorted more en masse out the doors. "Microsued" might have been a better name.
Microsoft is one of the biggest proponents of the H1-B program, so it is no wonder they top the technology industry in H1-B hiring.1 Bill Gates is fond of repeating an article from the National Foundation of American Policy (NFAP) stating that for every one H1-B hired, five new American jobs are created.2
Does that mean for every five Americans finding themselves in an unemployment line there is only one H1-B going home?- Microsoft recently laid off 5000 workers.-- Does that mean 833 H1-B's are buying plane tickets? Senator Charles Grassley, a republican from Iowa, wants to know the same thing.3
Top that off with the fact the Microsoft recently had the audacity to actually offer severance packages, then ask for part of it back, then effectively said, "No! Just kidding. Keep it!"4 That should have created an opening to replace the idiot who made those decisions. Are there any H1-B's out there needing an HR manager job? Apply at Microsoft! You're much more likely to get it, and, maybe Microsoft will create 5 more HR manager positions to fill with Americans!
While we are on the topic if NFAP, let's be sure to understand that one of the leading members of NFAP's Advisory Board is Jagdish Bhagwati, a native of India.5 Being a Professor at Columbia University, I'd really be interested in the ethnic balance of his scholarship offers. He might be captain of the Double Bowed Ship. Mr. Bhagwati is a huge supporter of the H1-B program.
According to the article, "The NFAP's report findings dispute a common argument by critics of the H-1B visa program who assert that the hiring of foreign technology professionals reduce employment opportunities for American workers." The findings, if true, do not in any way, however, correlate the quality or salaries of the jobs. However, if the new jobs' salaries are significantly less than that previously experienced by Americans, then it does, in effect, reduce effective employment opportunities.
The five-for-one math also doesn't equate to the same kind of job. For example, if an HR Manager position is filled with an H1-B applicant, the five jobs created are not necessarily HR Manager positions. They could be clerk positions within HR. Does this mean that if an American filled the position, the same 5 clerk positions wouldn't have also been made available? Or, does the American HR Manager simply work alone, completing the job by his or herself, whereas the H1-B needs the five additional positions to complete the work?
Finally, the five new positions need not have any relation to the H1-B position filled. The argument goes that the money the company saves by hiring the H1-B is used to create five new jobs for Americans.
However, this goes completely against the intent of the H1-B program. The program is not supposed to allow an H1-B to take a position at 1/5th the wage of a willing and able American!--
The H1-B program is designed to fill positions at the prevailing wage where willing and able Americans are not otherwise available. If the position is offered at 1/5th the going salary, then we eliminate "willing" Americans at the very least! Yet, in the same argument, proponents of H1-B will say the program does not serve to diminish wages. They cannot have it both ways.
As pointed out in my article H1B Fraud, there are roughly 1.5 million H-1B workers in America, roughly 21% of which are here illegally. Are there 7.5 million employed Americans above and beyond the number that would ordinarily be employed if those 1.5 million were not here? Since 315,000 are here illegally, are they compounded in our workforce by 1.575 million illegal workers from other countries?
I wonder if the associated 3.9 million H1-B workers have returned to find work in their home countries now that some 11.6 million are unemployed and another 7.8 million working part-time jobs in what is likely a feeble attempt to simply make ends meet?6 According to the same report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary worker unemployment, which includes H1-B workers, is down only 695,000! That means H1-B unemployment is, as best, only at 3.5%, compared to the 7.6% total!
If so much as one H1-B is permitted in 2009, it is proof the American worker is being unfairly displaced by foreign workers. Until common sense and reality are allowed to enter the picture, not cluttered by the fluff and confusion of economic "PHDisms", the H1-B program will be permitted to flourish in the face of diminishing wages and lost jobs.
- ComputerWorld - Indian outsourcers, Microsoft top the list of H-1B users in '08
- Information Week - U.S. Tech Companies Add Five Workers For Each H-1B Visa They Seek
- eWeek - Senator Questions Microsoft's H-1B Plans
- ComputerWorld - Microsoft tells laid-off workers to keep extra severance pay
- National Foundation for American Policy - Advisory Board Members
- Bureau of Labor Statistics - Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey