Monday, April 13, 2009
Well, I'm going to add my two cents to the discussion on the H1B visa issue. Since this affected me directly, I've got some authority in discussing this. I hadn't really paid attention to the changes in the I.T. industry in the early 1990s when the company that I worked for then (Electronic Data Systems) started bringing in "guest" workers from India. I remember that there was an ongoing communication issue; although some of the workers could speak English passably, more often than not, they could not. This would be a problem for us, as I worked for the GM technical engineering department working on automotive diagnostic software. I dealt with the problem by not dealing with them too much, until I was assigned a guest worker with my team. I then had to work often with him one-on-one and he had the attitude that he was technically better than the rest of us. He did have some good technical knowledge but his arrogance, in the end, was his downfall, because he was fired suddenly from EDS. I didn't really notice a great infusion of Indian technical workers in the I.T. field until the late 1990s. I didn't really care then as I was making as much money as I could pull in due to Y2K and all the changes that needed to be done. By late 2001 the changes were becoming evident, as salaries were dropping and hourly rates were being cut by a third. Now, there are many "baby boomer" generation I.T. workers who have kept up technically, but are still denied work because companies routinely pass up hiring them in favor of the cheaper H1B labor pool. I saw an actual video on YouTube that showed immigration lawyers for a major corporation being advised on how to bypass qualified U.S. applicants for foreign workers! It doesn't look like anything is going to change soon -- the tired old argument of "look at all of the innovation and new ideas they bring, etc., etc." is brought up. But U.S. workers were innovating long before Indians, Russians, or any other foreign national was brought here. The latest news story shows how stupid we are in allowing foreign companies and workers to be here -- the Chinese have over 200 "front companies" that are basically being used for industrial espionage -- to take back to China information to be used against us. They already have a ridiculously low wage there and continue to increase their competitive edge. Should we just "fold up our tents" and become a nation of workers glued to screens? Will no one manufacture anything in this country or will there be any jobs left that pay more than $10 or $12 per hour?