Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Proposal

One of the hot topics in Congress lately is the possible changes to the way that H1-B’s are handled. The debates have brought out a lot of companies in favor of raising the cap (including Google. So much for do no evil…) and against the new accountability that had been proposed.

That’s right. The Congress critters actually advocated accountability for *all* companies that use H1-B visas instead of just the ones who are “H1-B dependant” (which is defined as having something like 20% of their workforce composed of visa workers). Part of that accountability was that the H1-B holder could not displace an American worker for a period starting 6 months before the H1-B holder is brought on board and lasting until 6 months after they have been hired.

The corporations really didn’t like that idea. It was a sacrificial lamb on the part of the legislators in all likelihood since it didn’t get mentioned with the introduction of a “compromise” version of the bill.

The corporations also didn’t like the fact that the proposed bill would have taken the fake hope of a green card out of the hands of the corps and put it in the hands of the government on a point based system. That meant that the people brought here on H1-B visas might actually have a chance at becoming citizens instead of being jerked around by their “sponsor” company.

If you doubt the being jerked around part, ask yourself how many H1-B’s you know. Now, out of those, how many got their citizenship as opposed to just being shipped back to their country of origin.

The reason they want to bring in more H1-B workers is as much a joke as the promise of citizenship to the people who hold them. It’s not because we need the skilled labor (with the rare exception where they actually do for the extremely specialized stuff). It’s because they want cheap employees that they can control more easily (and, for the dissenters out there, most H1-B workers are paid substantially less than their American counterparts).

With these things in mind, here is my proposal for H1-B reform.

  • Severely lower the cap for H1-B’s and make almost all of those available only for foreign students who studied for advanced degrees in the United States.
  • Limit the total number of H1-B holders that a company is allowed to sponsor to, let’s say, 10 (or maybe 1% of their total work force).
  • Make businesses more accountable. H1-B holders may not displace an American worker (as per the 6 month before and after part of the initial bill in Congress) and it must be proven that a qualified American worker could not be found (which they’re supposed to do anyway).
  • H1-B holders must be paid 120% of the salary for the position (this is as a deterrent). Additionally, the company shall pay double the income tax on that person’s salary (with the additional money to be split between Social Security and a fund for public works projects).
  • Any infractions regarding the above which are committed by a business are grounds for the prevention of them ever being able to employ an H1-B holder again (with the exception of their current H1-B employees, who will be allowed to work there until their visa expires and they either become citizens or return to their home country). Additionally, *large* fines shall be leveled at the company as a punitive measure.

If you think this all sounds extreme, you’d be right. My reasoning behind this is simple - Companies are abusing the system by stating that they “need” these workers and are unable to fill the positions otherwise when the truth is much different.

It needs to be made so that the system is not abused and it seems that the only way to accomplish this is to make it much more painful to hire H1-B workers than it is to hire American ones. Otherwise, the more corrupt companies will just consider it to be an acceptable cost of doing business (especially since it saves them money as it stands because of the lower wages most H1-B workers receive and the fact that they get the people with the visas to work insane hours).

If you need proof of the abuse, there have been instances stated before Congress of companies putting out ads specifically wanting H1-B holders for openings (which is illegal). I’ve even seen them locally on some of the job boards in the past.

There are some cases in which H1-B holders are actually needed. That’s why I made my proposal in such a way that the only H1-B workers a company hires are needed for their special skill sets.

Despite what a lot of people seem to think (and what Wall Street wants you to believe), the purpose of a company is not just to make a profit. It is to make a profit while being a socially positive entity. They are part of the community. They need to start acting like it instead of trying to grab every penny that they can no matter the cost.

Screwing over your community in the name of short-term profits is not a sustainable strategy. Unfortunately, the ones at the top often don’t care about long-term strategy. If they did, we wouldn’t have this problem.

Believe it or not, I’m a moderate. In this case, however, bringing moderation in as the norm requires some extreme measures.

Current mood: annoyed
Current music: Eve6 – How Much Longer

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