Some Quotes Regarding H-1B and Related Issues

Norm Matloff
University of California, Davis
See bio here

While the ills of H-1B work visa can be complex, various quotes often tell the story quite succinctly -- especially quotes of supporters of the program themselves. Below are a few such quotes, broken down by category.

Issue categories:

  • widespread LEGAL abuse of tech worker programs
  • adverse impacts on older (age 35+) U.S. workers
  • lack of a STEM labor shortage
  • adverse impacts on STEM graduate study/careers
  • industry abuse of power/money lobbying for H-1B
  • on industry claims the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest"
  • Widespread LEGAL abuse of foreign tech worker programs:

    Abuse of H-1B and green cards -- including paying below-market wages and "handcuffing" workers to keep them from going to another employer -- is widespread in all segments of the industry, INCLUDING the big mainstream U.S. firms, NOT just in the Indian outsourcing firms. Almost all the abuse is 100% legal, due to loopholes.

    Again, note that the big mainstream firms ARE involved in the abuse. See references to Oracle, Texas Instruments, Bayer, Marconi and Westinghouse, Fed Ex, Cisco etc. below.

    Lack of a STEM labor shortage:

    No study, other than ones sponsored by the industry, has ever shown a tech labor shortage. The congressionally-commissioned NRC study failed to find one, as did a later study by the Dept. of Commerce. Note carefully that unemployment rates are not very useful, due to workers being forced to leave the field when work becomes hard to find; the former engineer now working at Radio Shack counts in the data as employed. See also the quotes below on STEM grad study and careers.

    Adverse impacts on older (age 35+) U.S. workers:

    One of the major attractions to employers of the H-1B work visa is that it enables them to avoid hiring older (age 35+) American workers, the latter being more exensive not only in salary but also in benefits. Employers say they are "desperate" to hire, but they mean hiring YOUNG people, especially new graduates. Most of the H-1Bs are young, so the companies hire them instead of older Americans.

    Adverse impacts on STEM graduate study/careers:

    The large influx of foreign students holds down STEM graduate and post doc stipends, and PhD salaries. As even a Cisco executive admits below, earning a PhD is "a financial loser," causing a net loss in lifetime earnings.

    Industry abuse of power/money lobbying for H-1B:

    Lobbying by the industry and its allies (e.g. universities) epitomizes the loss of our democracy.

    On industry claims the H-1Bs are "the best and the brightest":

    The industry lobbyists claims H-1Bs are hired because they are of outstanding talent. But the data show that most are ordinary people, doing ordinary work.