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Wed Mar 31, 2021, 10:05 AM

Biden to Let Trump's H1-B Visa Ban Expire in Win for Tech

Source: Bloomberg


By Jordan Fabian and Genevieve Douglas

March 30, 2021, 6:19 PM EDT Updated on March 31, 2021, 2:41 AM EDT

Guest-worker restrictions imposed in June, expire on Wednesday

Business groups pressured administration to lift visa ban


President Joe Biden plans to allow a pandemic-related ban on visas for certain temporary workers, enacted by former President Donald Trump, to expire Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter.

The moratorium, which affected H-1B visas used by technology companies to hire foreign coders and engineers, was imposed last June. Biden is opting not to renew it, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasnít been announced. The White House declined to comment.

Bidenís decision will please business groups from Silicon Valley giants to Indiaís IT services leaders, which had pressured the administration to lift the ban ever since the new president took office. Executives have grown frustrated that the directive was not immediately revoked, arguing it hurt U.S. companies.

American tech firms, from Facebook Inc. to Google, rely on foreign talent to shore up domestic workforces. Infosys Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. traditionally dispatch Indian software engineers to work in tandem with their American clients, which include some of the largest Wall Street banks and technology corporations. It remains unclear whether Biden will ease visa restrictions in general, reversing curbs imposed by the former Trump administration.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-30/biden-to-let-trump-s-h1-b-visa-ban-expire-in-win-for-tech-firms

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Arrow 41 replies Author Time Post
Reply Biden to Let Trump's H1-B Visa Ban Expire in Win for Tech (Original post)
DonViejo Mar 2021 OP
Jimbo S Mar 2021 #1
wcast Mar 2021 #24
rockfordfile Apr 2021 #29
RainCaster Mar 2021 #2
MoonchildCA Mar 2021 #3
4Q2u2 Mar 2021 #4
discntnt_irny_srcsm Mar 2021 #5
William Seger Mar 2021 #12
Lithos Mar 2021 #13
William Seger Mar 2021 #16
discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2021 #27
Demsrule86 Apr 2021 #30
inwiththenew Mar 2021 #6
maliaSmith Mar 2021 #7
infullview Mar 2021 #9
CrispyQ Mar 2021 #20
Amishman Mar 2021 #26
infullview Mar 2021 #8
OnDoutside Mar 2021 #10
itcfish Mar 2021 #11
mathematic Mar 2021 #14
Demsrule86 Apr 2021 #31
mathematic Apr 2021 #35
Demsrule86 Apr 2021 #36
iluvtennis Mar 2021 #15
forkol Mar 2021 #19
Lithos Mar 2021 #23
discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2021 #28
dalton99a Mar 2021 #17
ripcord Mar 2021 #18
joshcryer Mar 2021 #21
Demsrule86 Apr 2021 #32
intrepidity Apr 2021 #34
IronLionZion Mar 2021 #22
Demsrule86 Apr 2021 #33
DENVERPOPS Mar 2021 #25
WarGamer Apr 2021 #37
milestogo Apr 2021 #38
Buckeyeblue Apr 2021 #39
discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2021 #40
Yavin4 Apr 2021 #41

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 10:57 AM

1. Lift the ban

when every American IT professional who wants a job has a job.

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Response to Jimbo S (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 02:48 PM

24. +1000

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Response to Jimbo S (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 1, 2021, 07:17 PM

29. I agree

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:00 AM

2. Excellent! That way Microsoft, Google & Facebook won't have to hire older Americans

There are a lot of us who are not ready to retire yet, but the high tech industry that we started won't have anything to do with us. This is not right.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:07 AM

3. Yeah... not sure I agree with this one.

Iíd like to know his reasoning for it.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:14 AM

4. Bad Look for American Workers

"American tech firms, from Facebook Inc. to Google, rely on foreign talent to shore up domestic workforces."
That is a lie. More like cut American Wages.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:15 AM

5. Not the best idea at the current unemployment level. n/t

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:05 PM

12. It depends on the area

It seems that companies concentrated in certain areas of California do have trouble filling jobs with qualified people, but that's because of the concentration. I've worked in IT in the Washington, D.C. and Denver/Colorado Springs area, and I never saw that as a problem in those areas. One job I had was as manager of a small group of developers, and every time I posted a position, I was flooded with applicants and never had a problem finding someone qualified. But over the last couple of decades, large companies in particular have taken to hiring a large percentage of consultants instead of employees, and many consulting companies have found it advantageous to recruit H1-B people. In my 35-year career, I'm not aware of a single instance where the company directly hired an H1-B employee because they were unable to find anyone else qualified.

As for unemployment during the pandemic, fortunately the vast majority of IT workers have been able to shift to working from home -- a large percentage already were, at least part-time. My wife is still working in IT and has been working from home for the past year, and now her employer is considering not requiring employees to return to the office when this is over.

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Response to William Seger (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:28 PM

13. I have seen it misused extensively

Specifically as a salary cap. The posted salaries they are claiming which can not be filled are typically 25-30% below market rate (ie, asking $80k for a Sr. role which nominally is $110-120k/yr), so they opt to bring in an H1B instead. There is zero attempt made to apprentice or provide any opportunity for someone else to move into this role. It's made worse when supervisor/managerial slots are also filled using H1Bs who then almost always bring in their other H1Bs.

I have also seen Contracting houses (TCS, etc) be brought in as part of an "out source" in order to layoff US workers. The on-prem staff of these contracting houses are also almost all H1B workers meaning H1B's have via fiat, replaced US workers. Many of the H1Bs are brought in with promises of a green card, but treated as virtual wage slaves during the multi-year process; slaves because the green card clock restarts if they leave the contracting house.

The process is wholly corrupt.


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Response to Lithos (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:46 PM

16. It appears that what consulting companies are doing to justify H1-B visas is...

... to base them on the potential jobs they could be applying for and comparing that to the limited number of qualified people they have to submit -- which is typically because long-term consultants generally make less than employees (with benefits considered), which is because consulting companies keep a rather large chunk of whatever they can get from employers.

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Response to William Seger (Reply #16)

Thu Apr 1, 2021, 11:39 AM

27. Let me fill in some blanks.

Having been primarily a consultant for the last 25 years, I can tell you that in some cases the H1-B process sacrifices US jobs. I have typically worked through an agency. Mostly W-2 but sometimes corp-corp. I get that the agencies are only in business to make money. I don't really blame them since the idea of going into business is making money. However, as I understand it, the shops, almost all of them, (consulting agencies) typically finance their payroll. Many of the places that offer payroll financing want to see a certain markup above the hourly gross in order to do the financing. (Sometimes things get bad and client companies that are suppose to pay net 30 get 90 days behind.) The markup they want to see is close to 30%. Add the payroll taxes, overhead and any profits and the only way to be secure is to have a good size bank roll.

The shops that specialize in H1s also have fixed costs along with the same taxes and variable expenses but a lower billable rate to support those. The markup ends up being a higher percentage. One job I had in the L.A. area brought in H1s for the last 18 months I worked there. They steadily replaced US residents with H1s. The H1s were being paid less than half the rate of US residents. The client company was cutting expenses in preparation for being acquired. Salaries were still their biggest expense even considering that their rent on the office space was $2.2 million per month. I was out by the end of June that year. By August about 15% of the perm employees were also gone. Many of the perm folks that were cut had been there 5 to 15 years. Some were replaced by low wage H1-B contractors. By October several managers had moved on to other companies.

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Response to William Seger (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 10:51 AM

30. No it doesn't I have seen abuses for decades now...Americans need jobs period.

I remember when HP had a rule that multiple Americans had to fired for one Indian worker fired for all I know they still do...My friend who work for HP had her salary cut by more than half...many were let go and forced to train the foreign workers who took their place. I think Biden is wrong about this.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:20 AM

6. Profits first, people second

Or fifth or tenth who's keep tracking anymore?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:37 AM

7. Tech workers from foreign countries

My brother who graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in computer engineering would beg to differ.
He worked in Silicon Valley for years and this is what he told me. Tech firms use foreign workers imported on the H1 B visa, to undercut American workers. They bring in people from other countries, force American workers to train them in the jobs the American workers were preforming and then after the American worker trains them, they fire the American workers so they can pay the imported worker a smaller salary and make more money for themselves. It's being done all over the country.
I'm against the H1 B visa workers just for that reason. There is no shortage of tech workers as colleges are graduating tons of computer science degreed people every year. My brother used to go scout for his company at the colleges.
It's all about making more money for the very rich tech company owners and nothing else. I think we should protect American workers and their jobs rather than bring in foreign workers that are undercutting American jobs.

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Response to maliaSmith (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:47 AM

9. hear, hear!

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Response to maliaSmith (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 01:46 PM

20. This has happened twice in my family.

Severance pay was tied to training your foreign replacements.

on edit: AI is coming for white-collar worker jobs, too.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #20)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 07:42 PM

26. Yup, very very few H1B jobs couldn't be filled conventionally

It's a bad and badly abused program.

This is a mistake.

In roughly 15 years of working in IT (primarily software development), I've seen only a handful legitimate uses of the program. In my experience the overwhelming majority of these jobs could be filled without using an H1B.

Automation is going to eliminate tens of millions of jobs in the next decade. We need to be aggressively retraining our existing workforce to do these jobs - not bringing in outside labor.

Not to mention that many H1B employers are abusive. Assigning unreasonable work loads knowing the H1B worker cannot easily leave for another job. In some cases it's essentially modern day indentured servitude

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:44 AM

8. This is about the only thing T***p did that I agreed with

I am in the tech sector, and have had to compete with low-ball wages and stiff competition from Indian employment mills that contract out their people for decent wages and take a hefty percentage. The ones making the money are the middlemen. They bring people to the US by posing as employers, pay for transportation, offer a low base wage, and living space until they get farmed out as contract workers at a much higher rate.

The net effect is that supply and demand are undercut for people like me, and wage offers are not what I would consider middle class earnings.

While we're on the subject of software "consultants", why does the IRS force us to be "employees" if we work on site? This is patently unfair as this rule is not enforced on any other profession.

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Response to infullview (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 11:53 AM

10. From a European viewpoint, it's quite similar. I worked with a guy

On a project in Scotland and he was from one of the Big 5 earning about 20k a year, while they were making 150k+ out of him.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:02 PM

11. They should continue the

ban! There are plenty of Americans who can do the job. Corporations just donīt want to pay good salaries to Americans (or US Residents) Especially after this pandemis, I am sure there are plenty of locals to hire. Please don't tell me Americans are not skilled.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:35 PM

14. "I'm not against immigration, I'm against illegal immigration" and other bullshit

All the arguments in this thread against H1-B holders can be applied to legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, legal temporary foreign workers and illegal temporary foreign workers.

Hundreds of thousands of indian h1-b holders right now are trying to get permanent immigrant status but they can't because the law caps total employment based immigration at 140k per year, plus caps any single country to 7% of that.

So here's the solution for people that are complaining that temporary workers are stealing their jobs: remove the per country cap to employment based immigration. Problem solved! Those temporary workers are now hard working immigrants, and only right wingers hate them! Right? Uh, guys?

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Response to mathematic (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 10:53 AM

31. No it can't. This is a legal way to undercut American workers and it needs to stop.

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Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #31)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 12:01 PM

35. You say "No" yet in another post you blame immigrants for putting "Americans" out of jobs

In post #32 you say "great idea" and use the sarcasm tag in response to the suggestion that we let these workers immigrate.

You literally use the same argument against temporary H1-B workers for immigrants. Opposing H1-B visas is often used as a proxy for anti-immigrant views like yours since it allows you to frame your objection as against temporary work arrangements and not one against immigrants.

News flash buddy. Anti-immigrant views are not liberal. Immigrants are not stealing your job. Immigrants are not a drain on the community. Immigrants don't harm the United States. We need more immigrants, not fewer. People living in this country that want to become immigrants should be allowed to, that includes DACA individuals as well as current H1-B holders with backlogged immigration applications.



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Response to mathematic (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 12:09 PM

36. I never said that. I said H1B visa workers are putting Americans out of jobs and I saw it at HP and

at Sprint as well other companies...that is exactly what happens. Immigrants actually contribute...but importing cheap IT works via H1B visas has cost Americans their jobs. And why would we not look out for our own workers? It would be a better country if we did. Let me be clear, I favor an immigration bill that allows citizenship for dreamers and others.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:42 PM

15. Excellent news. Our high tech would suffer without H-1B engineers from India, China, Brazil, Europe

I worked in Silicon Valley for nearly 30 years and we couldn't have been productive without our H1-B engineers. America just doesn't graduate enough engineering majors that want to relocate to/work in Bay Area - maybe it's the cost of living.

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Response to iluvtennis (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 01:44 PM

19. It is the cost of living in the Bay Area.

When you still make a 6-figure salary, but have to sleep in a RV on the street because you still don't make enough to pay rent or get a house, it's bad. Many H1-Bs all live together in a house, sometimes subsidized by the contracting company, often 2-3 per bedroom. They don't have an issue with this because it's still better here for them than where they are from, but most Americans will not want to live this way.

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Response to iluvtennis (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 02:26 PM

23. The Bay Area is not the end-all-be-all of Tech

COVID has popped that misconception quite handily. Companies such as FB, Google are actively looking for remote full-time in all development positions.

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Response to iluvtennis (Reply #15)

Thu Apr 1, 2021, 12:02 PM

28. The real problem is education debt

My college today costs 7-8 times what it did 30 years ago. I got some government grants and work study that helped. Educational grant programs are stagnant. Most students are using loans to finance the ridiculous costs. This is why new grads can't compete with H1s.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:54 PM

17. "Workers are fungibles and can be replaced by cheaper replicas"

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 12:57 PM

18. As long as H1-B visas are so easily obtainable

These tech companies will have no incentive to invest in educating American's for their workforce.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 02:09 PM

21. Good, now allow them to immigrate here.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 10:54 AM

32. Wow, what a great idea...put more Americans out of work...

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Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #32)


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 02:19 PM

22. There are opportunities for Dems to reform this in a liberal way

by regulating the companies who abuse the visas and their contract workers. The real cost savings for H1B visas in IT contracting is to have people relocate frequently in a temp agency style without reimbursing them for any of their tremendous expenses like lease breakage. Employees and most Americans would not tolerate that but H-1Bs do what they have to do.

Contracting is the real problem here. That's what fuels the myth that H1Bs are replacing Americans. The reality is companies are replacing employees with contractors who are treated badly by contracting firms in a way that Americans won't put up with.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #22)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 10:57 AM

33. It is not a myth. H1b visa's are bad period. They lower salaries and cause older workers and younger

workers to lose their jobs...particularly hits older workers. There is no liberal reform...get rid of the program.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Mar 31, 2021, 03:00 PM

25. Not really a good idea considering all facets

Will it affect all the H-1B visas Trump uses to staff his countless resorts and golf courses???????

And whatever happened with the FBI raid on one his golf course clubs, and them finding printing equipment and blank cards so he could make his workers their own Fake ID's and counterfeit Social Security cards.........

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 01:07 PM

37. a big LOSS for the American worker

I can't count how many career technicians and Engineers and MD's I've seen sent packing so their Indian/Pakistani/African replacements can step in at half the cost.

Hell, if I wasn't in such a niche field, I would have been gone years ago.

The H1B system is abused by Corporations.

Want to Fix it?

Charge the employer $100,000 per H1B.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Apr 2, 2021, 03:45 PM

38. A win for tech profits and a big loss for American tech workers.

We don't need no stinkin' H1-B workers. Its a total scam.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Apr 3, 2021, 07:58 AM

39. Most of the Tata and Infosys work is done off-shore

This restriction didn't help save any American jobs. In fact, the company I was with expanded offshoring in the last year.

A few contractors from these companies are rotated on-shore to help coordinate the efforts of those who are off-shore. But 95% of the jobs are done by individuals in their own countries.

In my experience, these are really good people who work hard. I've been able to both get a great deal of work done and share cultures. While I don't like that US citizens are losing their jobs, these people need the work as well. The world is a small place. The better the world does collectively, the better the world will be.

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #39)

Sat Apr 3, 2021, 09:40 AM

40. The tech picture of offshore and foreign nationals working with US companies covers a spectrum

In IT such as client server application development, many aspects can be deployed to the cloud the work done down the hall, across the street or around the world. Other types of work such as embedded firmware would require hardware export. While a US based foreign national still wouldn't be permitted to work directly on the ITAR restricted item, some products can be compartmented enough that the work can be done by anyone but the product hardware or software can't be exported.

I think artificial restrictions on work and trade hinder to better and generally intangibly more profitable relationships. These need to altered or attenuated due to political hostilities. Opening the floodgate suddenly is probably not the best idea. We have new grads with huge student debt in a less than ideal economy. (Thanks 45 ) I like the idea of staging changes that impact workers and small businesses. For the H1B program having quota that is raised in steps makes sense to me just as raising the minimum wage by $1 to $2 per year makes sense to me.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Apr 3, 2021, 10:49 AM

41. This is why people form unions to protect themselves.

This is capitalism. Whenever I see a discussion about H1B visas, I also see how the people who respond have so little understanding of how capitalism works. A lot of people have bought into the myth that if you master something, then businesses will pay you well for your mastery until you die. That may be true for a few people, but businesses will only pay you until they can find a cheap alternative. Capitalism is about making the owners of capital more capital. It does not care about your individual well being.

The only way to protect yourself is by forming a union, but most people who work in the tech field think that their mastery should be enough to protect. They're wrong.

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