Healthcare // Analytics
News
4/4/2012
08:20 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT

Oracle, Google, Cisco, and Intel also push Senate to pass stalled legislation to end per-country caps on employment-based green cards.

8 IT Hiring Strategies Of Top CIOs
8 IT HIring Strategies Of Top CIOs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft is calling on the Senate to pass stalled legislation that would put an end to per-country caps on employment-based green cards.

"Our current green card system is not up to the task, with highly valued professionals spending a decade or more mired in backlogs," said Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith in a blog post. "Government officials are warning that these backlogs will become even more severe next month, especially for individuals born in India and China."

Smith called on the Senate to pass the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 3012)), which sailed through the House of Representatives in November with a 389-15 vote. The act would make the 140,000 employment-based green cards that the U.S. issues each year available on a first come, first served basis. Currently, individuals from any one country can account for no more than 7% of the total work-related green cards issued.

"The Senate should act now and pass this important legislation," said Smith.

Critics of the current system maintain that it punishes individuals from big countries such as India and China, which produce large numbers of technology professionals. Those from smaller countries such as, say, Iceland, have a much easier time getting employment-based green cards because their countries rarely exceed the 7% cap.

[ India also is unhappy with the U.S. visa process. Read India Lodges Complaint Over H-1B Visa Rejections. ]

The Act would not increase the total number of green cards available, a fact that helped it win broad, bipartisan support in the House. Even lawmakers, such as Long Island Democrat Tim Bishop, who in the past have sought tougher restrictions on companies' ability to outsource work or import foreign IT pros, voted in favor of the Act.

Numerous tech companies in addition to Microsoft also support the bill. They include Oracle, Google, Cisco, and Intel. Industry support also came from, among others, the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the Software and Information Industry Association.

More controversially, Microsoft would like to see more H-1B visas made available to foreign tech workers. The government currently caps the annual number at 65,000, not including 20,000 set aside for foreign graduates of U.S. universities. "Even with our economy in the midst of a prolonged recovery, the annual allotment of H-1B visas is projected to be exhausted earlier than last year," said Smith.

The H-1B visa program is controversial as, unlike with employment-related green cards, it does not require employers to show that there are no Americans available for a particular job. It's also difficult for H-1B workers to switch companies once they are in the U.S., a fact that, critics say, turns them into indentured laborers that are more attractive to employers than Americans, who are free to jump to another company whenever they choose.

But Smith said Microsoft and other tech companies need to import labor due to the tight supply of U.S. born technology workers. He said the unemployment rate in the tech sector is less than 4%. "Our economy is hungry for workers with strong educational backgrounds, especially those with degrees in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) fields."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services this week began accepting H-1B applications for the government's next fiscal year, which starts on October 1.

See the future of business technology at Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10. It's the best place to learn how cloud computing, mobile, video, virtualization, and other key technologies work together to drive business. Register today with priority code CPQCNL07 to get a free Expo Pass or to save 25% on Flex and Conference passes..

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
TechiePC
50%
50%
TechiePC,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/14/2012 | 11:40:45 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
FYI the unemployment rate in engineering sector in US is 3.4% at a time the overall unemployment rate is 8.2% and unemployment rate in CS is negligibly low even after so much of import. Being said that those professionals from the so called 5000 universities are employed and these Indians are not replacing them.

I will buy a product from Walmart when the same product is overpriced in Target. That is what a customer look at. The employers choose Indians and Chinese as they get the resources cheap; yet best and on-time as they can supply as much as US need. That is as simple as that. US don't have to pay more just to get the same thing accomplished by someone other than India and China. That is mere foolish thing to do.
RSamuel
50%
50%
RSamuel,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/11/2012 | 3:20:51 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
Read my comment above regarding how outsourcing companies get cheap labor (and thus in turn the American companies, who contract them) using H1B. This is not necessarily true in all cases, but thats where you can track down the lower-wage issue. The only way out is to closely track the hours clocked (difficult job!) by H1B holders in Outsourcing companies and their W-2 wages (this is basically a dollar or two plus the bare minimum wage requirement, so... they are good "legally"). To get a comprehensive process against Outsourcing, like I said earlier, tax implications is the best. But again - the higher the cost of outsourcing gets, the higher will be the pressure on those employees - in terms of (lower) wages, (higher)hours clocked or whatever.
YMOM100
50%
50%
YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2012 | 3:03:07 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
So how come that the majority of H1-B holders are paid significantly lower wages than what is customary for the industry and region? The law is there, but there is no means to enforce it.
RSamuel
50%
50%
RSamuel,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 10:20:35 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
Well, actually there is another way you can associate Cheap Labor with H1B. That is when US companies contracts an Indian Outsourcing company with their work and this outsourcing company applies H1B for their folks in India, brings them over to US and pays them peanuts just enough to get around w/the Law that stipulates the minimun wage requirement. But outsourcing has become too inevitable unless you are a common man in US who has the freedom to just look at it and criticize, and the only way you can curb that is by tax implications that appreciate companies that create jobs right here. Guessing another term by Obama will do that.. In any case lets avoid the generalized equation "CheapLabor = IndianWorker = H1Bvisa". Thats just not true.
RSamuel
50%
50%
RSamuel,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 9:06:12 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
fhor201, LMike and others who relate H1B/GreenCard programmes to "Cheap Labor": You got the facts wrong. These companies get cheap labor when they open offices in India and hire in India. And they do that (open offices in India) pretty well (this is where my other comment about SAS's Jim Goodnight comes into picture. And this also where Obama is thinking about closing the tax loop holes exploited by such "captive units" of US companies. On the other hand, when you employ a person within US borders (via H1B or GC) you have to pay him well, other wise one of these will occur - ONE, the company will be negatively impacted by the supply/demand situation of skill (people), TWO, there is a law that ensures H1B workers are paid at least same as the payment given to a US citizen (not to sooth H1 guy, but to safeguard the US guy's salary)
S Lopez
50%
50%
S Lopez,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 7:00:13 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
Have a look at this.

http://www.computerworld.com/s...

The dirty secret is the fraudsters are riding on the coat tails of legitimate experts whose skills are needed, and they are overloading and crashing the system for everyone. This is the danger of piecemeal reform in that HR3012 does not address the fraud. The system obviously needs a major overhaul, not tinkering around the edges.
Andrew Hornback
50%
50%
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 6:00:16 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
RSamuel - I'm not denying that Microsoft does have a CSR program (their 2011 Citizenship Report is on the web), what I'm getting at is that I think in the long run that the money spent fighting for legislation would be better spent by improving their CSR programs. With schools having their budgets cut, any external funding and/or partnership would most likely be welcomed with open arms. And years down the road, rather than having to jump through hoops to bring talent into the United States from overseas, they could reap the benefits of having it here already. That would be a win-win, in my view.
MyW0r1d
50%
50%
MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2012 | 5:23:30 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
Clearly there are exceptionally qualified high tech workers outside US borders and the H-1B is an important program to benefit from that expertise. Limitations by country without regard to the ratio of talent available could represent a detrimental flaw in the system. However, I am personally aware of cases of US workers who find difficulty in getting employment (the reasons can be numerous and include age, experience, and location). One in particular I met not only holds degrees and multiyear experience, but professional certifications including MCSE, CCNA, virtualization and wireless technologies has been actively searching employment for 6 months. Looking over press advertisements, we can see references to do not apply without recent healthcare experience, banking experience, or some other limiting factor but I doubt H-1B subjects can meet these limitations (and I have seen H-1B used for small software development projects).

The article references the big technology names and clearly they are the most in need of tapping that unique expertise of some off shore talent (semiconductor design or construction, I/O coding,) but I believe there are also many abuses of the program for the simple fact indicated by others here (lower cost labor and ease of personnel management). Investment in STEM programs and the H-1B are important to maintaining a US technology advantage. There is a contradiction however between the numerous companies affirming a "lack of internal competence" and the hundreds of rejection notices and placement agencies which report "highly competitive environment," strong competition, and "high quality of applicants."
Lmike360
50%
50%
Lmike360,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 3:31:58 PM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
I will work to block this initiative. US has far to many unemployed fully qualified resources. Face the reality, they want cheap labor. That is all. Let them hire US citizens not more Indians from India. Call and email your senator now and let them know that US citizens come first . Not corporate greed. We need LESS imported and outsourced jobs! Their argument of internal labor shortage does not hold water. Stop this now!
S Lopez
50%
50%
S Lopez,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 6:03:21 AM
re: Microsoft Presses: More Green Cards For India IT
Let's be clear, there is no shortage of brainpower in this country. The simple fact is that many of our best and brightest avoid a career in the tech industry because they can make more money and get treated better doing something else like working as bankers or stock brokers. The tech industry, lead by companies like Microsoft, have created the problem by treating workers poorly, now they cry that they must import workers from overseas because they can't recruit enough Americans. The other problem is the zero-sum nature of the bill they are promoting. For a lower level tech worker (waits for highly skilled workers with a masters or better are already short for everyone) from India to get a green card faster, a skilled worker from one of the other 180+ countries of the world will have to wait much longer. In addition, since HR3012 does increase the numerical quota overall, it will NOT allow American companies to bring in one single extra worker it can't already bring in since that is a function of H-1 which HR3012 does not change. If fraud was removed from the system, there would be plenty of extra green cards for needed workers, but HR3012 does nothing to weed out the fraud. These are just a few of the reasons why HR3012 will never see the light of day, regardless of the noise made by companies like Microsoft.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Big Love for Big Data? The Remedy for Healthcare Quality Improvements
Big Love for Big Data? The Remedy for Healthcare Quality Improvements
Healthcare data is nothing new, but yet, why do healthcare improvements from quantifiable data seem almost rare today? Healthcare administrators have a wealth of data accessible to them but aren't sure how much of that data is usable or even correct.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.