[FoRK] Government Report: Evidence of H-1B Visa Fraud

Einar Vollset einar at somethingsimpler.com
Tue Oct 14 11:35:01 PDT 2008

Could not agree more; getting a visa to work for a start up in the US is near
impossible. The current system _strongly_ favors existing, large companies
with large legal departments (who can craft H1B, O1s or can swing the
L1 by virtue of their offices abroad)

It's very strange, because it's the "well paid and risk free" jobs at
places like
Microsoft that most Slashdotters are howling about. Very few seems to mind
if I take that job making minimum wage with a startup...

It's another thing all together to try and _start_ a company in the
US. Dear lord,
you'd think I was asking for first dibs at every senator's daughter's wedding.



On Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 11:08 AM, Simon Wistow <simon at thegestalt.org> wrote:
> This is a matter quite close to my own heart since I'm one of those
> filthy foreigners over here in ur country takin ur jobs. Oh nooooess.
> A lot of countries have some variation on a Highly Skilled Migrant
> program which more or less says "Here's a questionaire - fill in these
> boxes, tick where appropriate and tot up your score at the end and if
> you're over a certain threshold then you're in"
> The US instead has a morass of visas - the most important (for the
> sake of this discussion) being (and do forgive me if I'm wrong on some
> of the details).
> * The H1B visa (the technical immigrant visa)
> This is currently a lottery - a quota of visas are released on April the
> 1st and everyone puts their application in and succesful applicants
> informed several months later. They are then allowed to move the
> following October.
> Once in the US you are not tied to a particularly company but your
> spouse, if you have one, may not work.
> This is also used by models. Apparently NY fashion week have been having
> problems getting sufficent models because of this restriction.
> * The L1B (the inter-company transfer)
> Having worked for a foreign office of a company with an American office
> for a year you can transfer to the American office. You can't change
> companies but bizarrely your spouse can work. At any company.
> * O1 (Alien of Extraordinary Ability visa - best. name. evar)
> This is for
> - Actors
> - People in the film industry (working in visual effects makes this
>                               fairly easy to get)
> - Nobel prize winners or equivalent
> - Other notable specialists in a field
> It takes a ton of evidence. You're tied to the company who sponsored you
> but it's possible to change jobs by getting your new company to reapply
> for an O1 and basically say "Our evidence that they're good enough is
> that they already have an O1"
> * E3 (Australian visa)
> As a way of saying thanks for helping with the war on terror Australian
> nationals may apply for an E3 visa. It's kind of like the H1B in that
> there's a quota of 10,500 but like the H1B of days of yore it's not run
> out yet.
> Once you get it (and it's a much simpler process than the H1B) you can
> move immediately. Your spouse may work. You're tied to your company.
> Anyway, so having gone through the visa process it's long, stressful,
> confusing, expensive and it's seeminly arbitary and non-deterministic -
> the USCIS can reject your application "just because". My case even got
> used as evidence in a series of emergency meetings between the
> Association of US immigration lawyers and USCIS.
> Now that I'm here in SF it's just as frustrating - we can't hire enoguh
> really good people (you know the kind I'm talking about, the right hand
> side of the curve needed for start ups) and even though there's specific
> people elsewhere in the world we'd like to bring in - it's just too damn
> difficult (a 6 month lead time till them starting?).
> In someways I think there's almost two worlds of H1Bs (which seem to be
> the divisive visas) - small companies trying to bring one off people and
> the anecdotal stories of giant outsourcing companies trying to move
> people over here.
> I have to admit, I've never seen much of the second but I tend to work
> in smaller places so maybe that's just me but it leads to a lot fo the
> arguments you see on Slashdot against the H1 not really making sense.
> The major one seems to be wage depression. Well, a few things -
> with an H1B you can change jobs which mean the "They work for lower
> wages because they're virtually slaves" (actual quote I've heard) kind
> of crap. Also, that's the free market but it's also better to have lower
> waged jobs over rather than no jobs here and everything outsourced.
> Moreover most of the people I know eher with visas are better payed than
> a lot of the people I know. Even when I was at Yahoo! Europeans bought
> over probably had a higher average wage than the Americans. Again, I
> possibly have a quite skewed view on things so I may be wrong. Finally -
> it costs *a lot* of money to bring someone over on a visa - in the $30k+
> range on top of the usual hiring costs (I actually think it's probably
> closer to $40k+ but I'm rounding down) which, again means that the
> "Importing cheap overseas labour" argument doesn't quite hold water.
> Now I'll agree that the system as it stands is quite broken and I don't
> think upping the number of H1Bs is necessarily the solution but I don't
> think cutting them is the answer either.
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Einar Vollset
Chief Scientist
Something Simpler Systems

690 - 220 Cambie St
Vancouver, BC V6B 2M9

ph: +1-778-987-4256

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