Clayton Cramer On H-1B And The Immigration Bill
May 21, 2007, 04:51 AM
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Blogger, semi-pro historian, and computer programmer Clayton Cramer writes

Unlike the illegal aliens who drive down the wages of unskilled or low skilled citizens and legal residents, H-1B workers are driving down the wages of people like myself, who are paid pretty darn well. I`m not asking you to cry for people whose salaries are driven down to $80,000 a year by competition—it`s not equivalent to the guy who is trying to raise a family on minimum wage.

Still, there are some unpleasant results, if this is an accurate description of the people that are brought in under H-1B visas. It means that most of these jobs are positions that could be filled by college grads, or people with one or two years of experience. (My experience with my current employer suggests that this is actually the case—some of them bring no more—and in some cases less expertise than I would expect of any recent computer science graduate.) Driving down wages in this entry level or near entry level segment has the effect of discouraging Americans from getting degrees in these fields—or preventing them from getting jobs that will give them the experience that they need. This is bad for them, and probably bad for the American economy in general. We already have a hard enough time getting Americans to major in hard subjects—why provide any encouragement for them to get degrees in fields where, to put it bluntly, we already have more than we usefully employ?Clayton Cramer`s BLOG

He also quotes an American software engineer who says

[O]ne of the regs for H1B is that the company must be unable to fill the job with a US worker. Some more clever companies satisfied this requirement by simply advertising the job in a different city then the actual job location, thus nearly insuring that no one would respond.

I don`t blame the Indian engineers for taking advantage of the program. Overwhelmingly the Indian engineers I`ve worked with were smart and capable. They acted in their own interests as one would expect. But that is the point. Every time I hear someone explaining how great it will be if we just expand the H1B program again, I think to myself: "This is not in my best interest, and in my opinion, not in the best interest of the rest of US workers." I just read comments by Larry Kudlow on "NRO The Corner" singing the praises of an expanded H1B program. I`m not buying it.

Kudlow`s "Corner" post is called "Brainiac Immigration."