1. Rep. Mike Honda from Silicon Valley was interviewed on C-SPAN the other day:Video Link.
They did discuss H-1B for a while. Though he did say that H-1Bs are often cheaper to hire than Americans, and this is the first time I`ve ever heard any Silicon Valley congressperson say this, unfortunately he stated that only the ones hired directly from overseas are cheaper. He followed what has become a standard line that those hired as foreign students on U.S. campuses—which is the most common type of H-1B hired by Silicon Valley firms—are fine, no problem, no underpayment. This is highly incorrect, as I`ve shown before. But it`s an appealing dichotomy for politicians, who like things simple and who don`t want to offend their industrial patrons. I might add, as I have before, that some of the organizations critical of H-1B, notably the Programmers Guild, have unwittingly fostered this incorrect "Wipro bad, Intel good" perception.
2. Sens. Grassley and Durbin have apparently introduced an H-1B reform bill. It`s not on the Web yet, so I don`t know the contents. Reportedly it is similar to the one they introduced last year, but the Grassley press release`s description of the bill does not mention anything about reforming prevailing wage determination. That aspect was by far the most important one in last year`s Durbin/Grassley bill, so I hope it`s in this year`s bill too. Omission of this provision would be a huge disappointment.
3. Two new academic papers have been reported in the press in the last few days, one by Hunt of McGill and the other by Mithas and Smith of the University of Maryland. I have quite a bit to say about both papers (about the misreporting of their contents by the press), and will do so within the next few days.