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Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill in March that would protect American workers from H-1B abuses. H-1B visas permit workers -- greatly from India -- to come to the U.S. for a limited term. Mostly, they work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs -- but NOT at the top levels. These are mid- to lower-level skills jobs. The effect is to lower the overall pay level of American-born workers in tech jobs. American engineers say that U.S. companies which push for the country to permit more H-1Bs to enter base their arguments on a falsehood: that there is a shortage of U.S. engineers. In fact, say American engineers, the companies are using the program to hold tech wages down, thus ballooning profits, stock prices, and top executive pay.

Grassley's bill would require companies to make a good faith effort to hire Americans first; prohibit employers from advertising jobs only to H-1B visa holders, and help the U.S. government crack down on H-1B abuses.

San Diego-based Qualcomm is one of the largest users of H-1B employees. Company executives have advocated that the nation permit more H-1B visas. Companies such as Wal-Mart are increasingly using H-1B workers for lower level information technology jobs.

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Comments

Visduh April 1, 2013 @ 3:37 p.m.

If Grassley can come up with some demands that are enforced, good for him. The history of immigration law and 'reform" is littered with assurances given and then not enforced. There is not a true shortage of engineers in this country. In some ways, there's a glut, with many engineering graduates working in other fields and accepting employment for which they are overqualified. If there is an occasional spot shortage of talent, well, that happens. It does not mean that the US should throw open its borders to legions of foreigners who come here as modern-day indentured servants to fill the gap. If the pay and job prospects for engineers were better, more college students would study engineering. The word does get out, and many young people would rather study political science than work their butts off studying all that math, science and engineering if there are no rewards for engineers.

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Don Bauder April 1, 2013 @ 6:37 p.m.

Visduh: I agree on every point. There is no shortage of American engineers, and is probably a glut since so many educated as engineers are working in other types of jobs. The H-1B program is used by corporations as a vehicle for lowering the overall pay level of engineers -- homegrown ones, as well as those who come in on visas. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi April 2, 2013 @ 8:25 a.m.

This website, though somewhat outdated, is an informative source about H-1B history and abuses: http://www.zazona.com/shameh1b/

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Don Bauder April 2, 2013 @ 9:42 a.m.

Ponzi: The numbers look good on that site. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill April 2, 2013 @ 7:19 p.m.

I guess it's something but I think laws like this are almost impossible to enforce. Trying to determine something like "median wages" at a given "skill level" is very difficult to quantify.

I think the only enforceable laws are either to just limit the number of visas, or to impose heavy fees to employers for H1Bs so that they have a clear economic incentive to avoid hiring H1B's when there are alternatives.

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Don Bauder April 2, 2013 @ 9:06 p.m.

ImJustABill: But look at the propaganda in favor of H-1B expansion. There is a flood of it, and no doubt a flood of lobbyist cash going to corporations. Very few in this country seem to realize that companies, in obsessively pursuing short term profits, are destroying their own markets -- that bottom 90% for which they have so much contempt -- and hence destroying future profits. Best, Don Bauder

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