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So How Do You Start a Movement?

So there was this story on the news tonight about the efforts of Microsoft and other big tech companies to get the government to expand the H-1B visa programs. Now I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on the tech sector, but I do know a fair number of “Information technology professionals” who are under-employed and unemployed. It doesn’t seem right that companies can bring over people to fill jobs when there are lots of unemployed folks right here in the country.

So I started thinking about a peaceful yet pointed way of letting Congress know about the tech professionals already resident.

How’s this? Send your resume to your Senators and Representative. It’s one thing to get a bunch of letters saying “I don’t think this is a good idea” and quite another to get a stack of resumes that say “I can do these jobs. I’m already here.“

What do you think? Do we have a movement here?

And if you need the addresses or phone numbers -- and they don't need to check a fax for infectious material before they open it -- for your Senators or Representative, the EFF has a nice roundup of information here.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2006 08:21 am (UTC)
It's a good idea, and I hope it has a positive effect. But I think the problem is getting the CEOs and the majority of stockholders to say to themselves, "Hey! We can forego some of our profits to pay our own people better, rather than going strictly for bottom-line quarterly profits and squeezing out as much money as we can." And I just don't think that's gonna happen. Wish it would. They want the cheapest possible labor, period.

(I say this not as some kinda communist, but maybe as a socialist. I've got no problem with people getting rich. I'd love to do it myself someday. But after a certain point, I can't help but think, "Jeez! How much money do you need?" All my lottery dreams have me getting the same Kewl Stuff; as the jackpot expands, what changes is the number of my friends I can help.)
May. 11th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
It's nastier than that.

The engineering department at the last startup I worked at was comprised entirely of Americans under the age of 27 and H1-B employees. Why?
  • The younger ones wouldn't know bad working conditions from good ones because they hadn't worked much of anywhere else.
  • You can overwork, underpay, and downright abuse an H1-B visa employee. If they balk, they get fired, and then they get deported.
It's a lose-lose situation for everyone.
May. 10th, 2006 10:24 am (UTC)
It's the standard practice these days to go to the government whenever people want something. In this case, protection from competitors for jobs. Personally, I think that would be very nice. I think all the best programming jobs should be held open just for me. Once I picked the one I liked, I'd let all the others go to other people.

But can I really claim that "it doesn't seem right" that other people get these jobs when I want them? I could say that it doesn't seem right because those other people aren't me. But I wouldn't get much support. Now if I say it's because they aren't us -- or to capitalize that, U.S. -- then I get a lot of agreement. But the logic is no better.

And when you go to the government to keep other people out, you become just one more player in the game of going after favors at someone else's expense. It generally turns out that other people are much better at the game than you are.
May. 10th, 2006 12:51 pm (UTC)
The problem is... the companies are going to gov't asking for more H1-B's under the premise that they can't find qualified people here to do the job. I think we all know there are large pools of talented tech people who would do the job, probably willing to relocate, and probably willing to do so for a reasonably low salary just in order to get their foot in the door. But it really is about corporate greed. With an H1-B employee, they can pay lower wages and since generally they don't provide benefits to these people either the total cost of ownership as it were, is much lower than hiring a local. And that's really what it's about... the bottom line. If they thought they could get away with it all these jobs would be sent over to India, China, Romania, wherever, but companies are starting to see the backlash on that front.
May. 10th, 2006 01:08 pm (UTC)
Sounds reasonable, but I can't help because I'm employed. You should send this to /. or something.
May. 10th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
I think it's a great idea - I'd send mine except I've recently accomplished what, not long ago, seemed impossible - I got a job. After 10 months of searching. But I know people who are un/under-employed, and more than a few of them lost their jobs to outsourcing.

If it's alright with you, I'm going to add this to my LJ. Then again, more people probably read your LJ than mine.
May. 10th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the job!

Sure, add it. I was hoping it would propagate : )

May. 10th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
I've heard these claims before. It's as if there was a shortage of programmers here in the States. I should clarify that to say "qualified programmers that meet the ridiculously high standards and requirements that the HR departments and consulting companies use to screen out potential candidates". But it's also the money game as pheltzer said: companies look overseas for talent because they're heavy into cost-cutting and don't want to pay American programmers a decent and reasonable salary.
May. 10th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
Great Idea!
Since I've been in HR for a jillion years, I've had to deal with managers who wanted to hire using H1B visas and I've had to file H1B visa renewal applications - and I've hated it because I've always believed there were people here who could do the job. I don't have a problem for areas, like nurses, where there really are shortages, but there are so many abuses. Any company can get an H1B visa for anybody if they are willing to hire an immigration attorney to carry the paperwork through the INS process. I'd love to see some kind of reform! Erica's Mom
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )