Published On: Sat, Feb 6th, 2016

How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem

I’m a Canadian who has spent a large fragment of his adult life operative in a USA, so immigration, generally as it relates to a tech industry, is a flattering personal subject. we was during a Waterloo Engineering alumnus eventuality in San Francisco this week (it turns out there are roughly 2,000 of us in a Bay Area) and, inevitably, a arc of each review focussed towards immigration, and how Kafkaesque it can be, even for us advantageous Canadians.

So most worse, then, for those unfortunates who have to rest on a barbarous H-1B visa. Even we propitious TN-1 forms are tethered to a employer, incompetent to change jobs … say, to join, or found, new startups. we occur to be really happy with my employers, though how many startups go unfounded, how many careers stagnate, since those same gifted people who group to a Valley–and a tech attention command large–find themselves forced to languish in a a same jobs that brought them, since of a collision of their lost births?

Even those people have to count themselves propitious — since direct for a 65,000 H-1Bs accessible annually so outstrips supply that, final year, a window to record for them non-stop on Apr 1st … and slammed close usually 5 days, and 172,500 applications, later.

So how were a propitious winners selected? By a peculiarity of a employers? By a peculiarity of a individuals? Of march not. By lottery. we child we not.

Maybe this would be reasonable if all H-1B jobs were roughly equivalent. The problem is, as I’ve created before, they’re anything but. Let’s compare, say, Facebook and Google with those obvious physique shops Tata Consultancy Services and Cognizant Technology Solutions. Click on a links in a prior judgment to see their H-1B stats for final year. See anything that jumps out during you?

That’s right. Facebook and Google brought in 900 and 2,800 H-1B employees, respectively, with salaries of $140,000 and $127,000. Cognizant? 3,300 during $72,000. Tata? A whopping 16,435 for a (relatively) insignificant $70,000 – literally less than half what Facebook paid.

I privately consider Congress (and Canada’s Parliament, and a UK’s Parliament, etc etc etc) should call their common authorised wands and concede anyone with an accredited STEM grade to come build their destiny in a land of their choice, and change jobs as and when they like, rather than giving their corporate masters comprehensive energy over their future(s).

But in a deficiency of that panacea, if you’re going to have a extent on who can come, shouldn’t a powers that be during slightest try to name a most valuable people? As selected by a giveaway marketplace they effect to admire? And/or, if we wanted to generally support startups, one could simply inversely weight salaries by a distance of a employers in question.

This is frequency a new idea. (It was good to see a New York Times finally holding notice of it late final year.) It would be a pardonable regulatory change. But it would be enormously profitable for companies who are indeed perplexing to do good things; it would apparently be improved for a employees in question; and it would be vastly some-more politically palatable, that in spin would be improved for a “freedom of suit of prepared labor” prolonged game. Everybody wins. So because aren’t we doing it?

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