Friday, December 09, 2011

HR 3012, Part Two

Prof. N. Matloff writes another email to amplify the remarks he made earlier about HR 3012.

First off, here's the link to his long paper on the question of H1-B immigration.  It's a 99 page PDF with lotsa footnotes, describing the abuse of H1-B by US companies (and others.)

As to H1-B reform:

...[If] you want the country to be welcoming, indeed a mecca, for the best and brightest of the world, but
at the same time not one whose government undermines its own citizens' ability to make a living.  I presume as well that you don't want America to be a place in which immigration policies cause our own best and
brightest to decide that business and law offer more lucrative and long-term careers than do the STEM professions.

For that IS what America has devolved to.  Do you know that a recent study showed engineering to have the lowest rate of wage growth of any major profession?  Tony Carnevale of Georgetown University, author of
that study, told the Wall Street Journal, "If you're good at math, you'd have to be crazy to pursue a STEM career."  Well, guess why.  Clearly, the large influx from abroad has suppressed wage growth in the field.

But it's not the young'uns Matloff is really worried about.

...the major point of H-1B and green cards involves AGE.  The real savings employers get from these visas is
that it allows them to hire young foreign nationals when they run out of young Americans.  (This too is a point not well understood by critics of H-1B.)

In the pre-H-1B days, one could make a career in the software field. Granted, some people still manage to do this now, but employers are far more less welcoming these days for those past age 35

The Schumer/Lofgren bill would 'punish' the Indian bodyshops; but Matloff notes that it is not only those entities which abuse H1-B.  Matloff mentions Intel--but only as an example of US firms which do the same thing (mutatis mutandis).

And he proposes a solution:

...revise the definition of prevailing wage, in both H-1B and the green cards. Actually, the Durbin/Grassley bill, introduced in the past, has such a provision, defining prevailing wage to be the overall median for the given occupation (NOT the median for a given experience level in that occupation, a key point).  That extraordinarily simple provision would go a long way to solving the problems.  The AFL-CIO's proposal, setting prevailing wage at the 75th percentile, is even better, and would be eminently justified, given the industry's claim to want to hire "the best and the brightest."  Again, "reform" that scapegoats, or which does
not plug the huge loopholes in prevailing wage, would not be acceptable.

The good Professor clarified.  We report.

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