Sunday, May 5, 2013

H-1B Testimonial From a Comment Section

 A great comment from the article: "Do visas for skilled foreigners shut out U.S. tech workers?" in The Seattle Times
@DawgBlawginIt is absolutely right about foreign workers appearing to be skilled. I'm partners in a firm that, among other things, hires H-1Bs to staff on Microsoft projects. I've been bullied many times over the years, by Indian nationals on my Board of Directors, into paying the high costs of sponsoring visas for friends and family of theirs from India who aren't qualified for the software engineering positions Microsoft needs. The visa acquisition costs aren't cheap, running from $5k to $20k per individual. These individuals come into role and often suffer extremely steep learning curves and even after a year or more of "on the job training" can't do the job. 
Also, Microsoft isn't only directly hiring H-1s and L-1s, but they have *tremendous* influence over vendors (Infosys, Aditi, Tata) because they dial down their rates so much that only new visa holders can meet the budget requirements. Entry-level software engineers on H-1B minimum pay as set by the Federal Govt is $72k currently. The typical experienced "Seattle local" software engineer will cost at least $110k + benefits. Microsoft's project budgets force vendors to go with visa-based engineers. Many of these visa-based engineers come it at the salary minimum and their employers won't give them raises. I knew of one engineer with a large India-based consultancy who was brought over to work for Microsoft through them on a visa at $60k/year salary five years ago. They didn't give him a raise in five years and also forced him to repay over $10k as "tribute" if he ever left, otherwise they would disavow his employment history and provide no letter of reference.  
Also, Microsoft vendor hiring managers, I've seen several times, will attempt to direct a visa-based contractor to jump to another vendor who has better rates to Microsoft. 
There should be no doubt in anyone's minds that there's collusion at the individual working group level going on between Microsoft and their vendors on this. Microsoft and the vendor owners are the ones making out, while US nationals who are skilled are being left out of selection for these jobs and the visa-holder is working his/her ass off 60+ hours a week to please their company and Microsoft and hopefully get into the Green Card process. 
Redmond, WA.

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