The Times Wants You To Sob For The New Nabobs

Within weeks, Ms. Jalakam, who has a degree in biotechnology, landed a job as an analyst at an insurance company. The next year, she and her husband, Vinay Kumar, a software engineer, bought a house. In 2017, the finances of the Indian immigrant couple were secure enough that they decided to have a second child.
.
All that planning, though, is in jeopardy. Ms. Jalakam and thousands of other spouses of skilled workers have been told that their special work permits — authorization that can mean the difference between struggling and thriving in their adopted homeland — are likely to be revoked.

Well, this sounds very sad. I would not want anyone to struggle when they could thrive instead. As you’ll see, however, not everybody has the same definition of “struggle” or “thrive”.


The Times is very upset about the idea that an Obama program allowing the spouses of H1-B workers to obtain employment of their own is likely to be discontinued. As is usual for this particular rag, they’ve managed to find a couple of likeable outliers:

Lakshmi Vishnubhotla, who has worked for 10 years as a teacher in Marion County, S.C., is currently sponsored for an H-1B by the school district. He was named teacher of the year for the district in 2015-16…. Jigar Madlani, a software engineer in Parsippany, N.J., came on an H-1B and hisgreen card was approved in 2013. But none of the family’s cards have been issued, and he fears his wife, Heta, will soon lose her ability to work…
Armed with an H-4EAD permit, she was hired in late 2015 as a case manager for New Jersey’s 211 line, handling calls from drug addicts, homeless families, victims of domestic violence and others in crisis seeking help.

So there you have it! The H1-B program and the H-4EAD chain-migration-employment program really just exists to put teachers in schools and public servants on a phone helpline! How could anybody be against this?

Except.

Turns out that the H1-B program has two fascinating impacts that are rarely, if ever, reported in the popular media. Not only are H1-B applicants paid more than American workers for the same job, the existence of the H1-B program has led to wage stagnation or reduction over the past twenty years in professions where H1-B workers are common.

Guess who suffers most? African-Americans, who make up 9.7% of computer-science graduates in the United States but get just two percent of the jobs. This in no way surprises me. At my last tech gig, about 350 of the 500 people on my floor were Indian men. About twenty were Indian women, and about ten were white women. There was not a single black man or woman on the floor. Period, point blank.

It’s disgusting, really. We tell inner-city black kids that if they LEARN TO CODE! they can make it into the middle class. They actually listen, and they actually do it. And when they get out of their degree programs, they are passed over in favors of overseas employees whose degrees are often entirely fake. If that’s not a broken system, I don’t know what is.

Back to the Jalakam-Kumar family, over whose fortunes the Times is wringing its hands.

Now that she has a well-paying job, Ms. Jalakam’s main fear is losing it. She was pregnant with their second child when the administration announced plans to rescind the work authorizations. She began fretting about how they would afford their $4,800 monthly mortgage.

Four thousand. And eight hundred. Dollars. Every month. That’s a $1.2 million mortgage if you don’t have a penny of down payment. Here in Ohio, that would get you a house with a moat and possibly an airstrip — but even in the Jalakam-Kumar’s California neighborhood, it’s sufficient for a 3,500-square-foot new build with a fucking turret, as pictured above.

Without H1-B, that house goes to an American family. Maybe even a black American family with tech degrees from an American college. The hypocrisy of it beggars belief. Those California tech companies might talk a good game about diversity and people of color and whatnot, but when the chips are down they forget about that shit and instead put foreigners in a position to own million-dollar homes.

There’s actually a bit of irony if you look at it historically. Four hundred years ago, Britain was infested with “nabobs” — Englishmen who made fortunes by exploiting India’s resources and its people. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Tech-educated American workers, including people of color, have to work foodservice or retail jobs that don’t even let them stay current on their loans. Meanwhile, the new nabobs buy McMansions and live the American dream.

If you brought any of these concerns up to the writers at the Times, they would call you a racist, even though it is disproportionately African-Americans who are impacted by H1-B. They would tell you that “the world is flat” and that America should have no borders. The fact that everybody from Japan to Switzerland to Israel has tightly guarded and patrolled borders, to say nothing of a distinct aversion to granting so much as a short-term foreign work permit, does not bother them in the slightest.

This state of affairs cannot continue. Something has got to give. Something is going to happen. And when it happens, I don’t think that anybody is going to be in a position to make a $4,800 mortgage payment. Not you, not me, not the bright kids from Howard University and elsewhere clutching fresh degrees. Not even the Jalakam-Kumars. Yet if the proverbial balloon really does go up in this country, I have to wonder: Will the rest of the world be willing to take us in, as refugees or workers or householders? Will we find that the borders to Canada or Switzerland or China are as open and porous as ours once were? Or will we find out, once and for all, just how stupid we were to give away our country, and how stupid we would have to be in order to expect anybody else to do the same thing for us?

49 Replies to “The Times Wants You To Sob For The New Nabobs”

  1. Lh

    Even Malcom X said it….Blacks who vote Dem are political chumps and traitors to their race…Bill The Butcher too…”they do for a nickel…”Balcks who support the liberal agenda are voting against themselves economically.

    Reply
  2. ScottS

    I am way out of my depth in commenting on the H1-B situation, however, a little search effort easily turns up good information.

    The video at this CNN link asserts that 9.3% of the GDP of India (yes the whole f__ing country) is derived from “outsourcing firms”. These companies specialize in placing H1-B workers. That is a shocking number.
    http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/23/technology/h1b-visa-abuse/index.html

    The U.S. CIS has information on identifying H1-B abuse and this appears to be a new initiative.
    https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/combating-fraud-and-abuse-h-1b-visa-program

    When I was in college CS degrees were the hot ticket to above average earnings. What a sad change of fortune.

    Reply
  3. Ronnie Schreiber

    This is what $1 million will buy you in Detroit:
    https://detroit.curbed.com/2017/7/19/15993694/briggs-mansion-stone-hedge-for-sale

    “Built for Walter O. Briggs, longtime owner of the Detroit Tigers, in 1915, this house retains much of its original details and character. The house was designed by Chittenden & Kotting and Briggs lived here until his death in 1952. In a neighborhood full of historic homes, this one stands out for its stone exterior (hence the name “Stone Hedge”). The house listed a few years ago in a much different market; since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into the renovation. It’s now listing for $1,050,000.

    The house is over 9,500 square feet, with 11 bedrooms, six full and three half baths, nine fireplaces, three built-in safes, a completely remodeled kitchen, an elevator, and so much wood paneling. The library fireplace mantle includes carvings of old baseball players.

    The property includes a separate carriage house with a two-bedroom apartment. It sits on one and a half acres on West Boston Boulevard, next to the Charles T. Fisher Mansion, which sold earlier this year for $1.25 million.”

    Reply
  4. Ronnie Schreiber

    I’m an 8th generation American on my dad’s side, but my mother was the first member of her extended family to be born here. Her parents immigrated in 1921, just before the Immigration Act of 1924 drastically restricted immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. Apparently, there were difficulties getting my maternal grandparents entry into the U.S.
    In any case, my grandfather supported his family as a junkman, dealing in paper and rags. I’m sure he and my grandmother had different definitions for “struggling” and “thriving” than the the Jalakam-Kumars and the New York Times.

    Reply
  5. -Nate

    I read all this and think: ‘it must be nice’ .

    My ex Wife was an Immigrant, waited in lie for close to a decade, came here and worked her @$$ off to make it .

    She now owns (is buying) a nice if small little house in Baldwin Park, Ca., a Hispanic area not far East of Los Angeles proper .

    Maybe I should have gotten more ed-u-ka-shun…….

    -Nate

    Reply
  6. -Nate

    I’d like to add : the ex never took a dime of Public Assistance, prolly never will .

    My hat is off to anyone who works their butts off to succeed but fake diplomas from India are a well known thing, I don’t see why it’s allowed .

    -Nate

    Reply
  7. David Florida

    I was born and lived in Flint, Michigan for twenty three years before moving to Kalamazoo. As one of my smarter friends said at the time, “if I’d wanted to work for General Motors, I wouldn’t have bothered graduating from High School.” That was a few years before the presidency of Bush the younger, of course, and the days when newspapers got going online.

    Another pal, a bit more liberal than me and raised in suburban Detroit, delighted in sending me links to news stories about hourly workers who were seeing their families’ way of life ended by plant closings. Invariably the big-bellied patriarch of the clan was depicted in a photograph of the living room in his McMansion, surrounded by a beer or two and a pack of smokes; the story would recount the list of toys and a vacation home given up in the recent layoff; finally Mr. Sixpack and spouse would mention the withdrawals from their children’s education and their own retirement and savings accounts and the resumption of Mrs Sixpack’s nursing career. The shortsighted nature of their planning was and is obvious, including their hope that a governor/president/legislature/union might “do something.” With a little help from Stanley and Danko, I would reply with some pungent suggestions on how they’d gone wrong.

    I think my pal needs to see this essay and the story of these new Nabobs… plus ca change and all that. What in Hell would possess someone to take on a $4800 mortgage payment while working on a temporary immigration status???

    Reply
    • -Nate

      David ;

      ? How was Kalamzoo and when did you live there ? .

      In 1968 we bought a used ‘Kalamazoo Speed Truck’ built in Kalamazoo, Mi. and it was a typical 1940’s ~ 1950’s American industrial product ~ well used but ready for decades more service .

      I guess my Q. is : was Kalamazoo an industrial town like Flint or what ? .

      TIA,

      -Nate

      Reply
      • David Florida

        Nate, I still live in the area, having moved to the adjacent city of Portage six years ago. The paper industry and pharmaceutical business aren’t what they were, and Checker Motors (not sure if there’s a connection to Speed Trucks) is history. Jack’s pieces on Gibson and Heritage have musical instruments covered. There’s some diversity thanks to Stryker medical and many smaller firms, however. A former GM complex was converted to a business park twenty years ago and houses a highly automated Kaiser Aluminum factory, among other operations. Things are much better here than in Flint, but there’s money to be made in plywood nonetheless…

        Reply
    • safe as milk

      ” What in Hell would possess someone to take on a $4800 mortgage payment while working on a temporary immigration status???”
      Exactly my thought, and what bank approved the mortgage based on a temporary work permit?

      Reply
  8. Bigtruckseriesreview

    Donald Trump is an indictment of this country’s policies, laws and priorities.

    He’s taken a side: whatever that may be – and you are forced to choose which side you’re on.

    As far as I’m concerned, all those worthless dollars America has sent to Asia – exporting inflation – IS DESTROYING MY NEIGHBORHOOD when those people bring it back to buy up our protperty and gentrify our neighborhoods.

    Americans in general don’t have those kind of finances.

    I have no idea where Trump’s policies will take us, but as far as I’m concerned, this GLOBALISM BULLSHIT ain’t helping me. I couldn’t move to India and China and buy up their property or gentrify them out of their areas. WHY SHOULD THEY BE ABLE TO DO IT HERE?

    There are fewer than 325 Million Americans.

    THERE IS NO WAY we can compete with 4 Billion Asians when they are willing to work for less than we can – and their own country is actually educating them while our PATHETIC, FAILING school systems are nothing more than ponzi schemes DESIGNED TO FAIL in order to make us less competitive.

    I’d say it’s time to FORCE (FORCE) Americans to do better.

    I’m sick and tired of this country falling behind.

    WE SHOULD BE BUILDING ON THE FUCKING MOON BY NOW.

    Our bridges, roads and buildings are collapsing from INACTION of our leaders and POOR TAX POLICY.

    Trump is a megalomaniac sociopath but if he gets shit done THEN SO BE IT.

    DARWINISM: IMPROVE, SURVIVE or DON’T.

    Reply
  9. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I suppose I should feel sympathetic towards these hard working folks, but it just isn’t happening. Seeing the results of unchecked immigration, no matter if I’m in Chicago (currently), Phoenix (last month) or my home base in Georgia, I just can’t scrape up any sympathy for them. I don’t know of any other country that offers immigrants the opportunity that the US allows. Hell, due to Canada’s policies, we can’t even get work there (industrial machinery work), but we freely allow them to work here.

    The US has the ability to turn out educated folks that can smoke these imports handily. Yet large corporations, and their lackeys in the government swamp ( both dem and repub) wanna bring these folks in. It mystify s me how they can’t see the long term damage this is doing to OUR country, but I guess when you’re entrenched in the bureaucracy you don’t see things that those of us out here do.

    Personally, I think its nigh on time to water the tree of liberty.

    Reply
    • XJR01

      Can you expand a bit on this statement: “Hell, due to Canada’s policies, we can’t even get work there (industrial machinery work), but we freely allow them to work here. ”
      And no, I’m not trying to start an argument or anything, I just want to be educated, because I was under the impression that the Socialist Republic of Canada allowed anybody with a pulse to come and work here. Primarily because not a lot of people want to spend their lives in this overtaxed frigid wasteland to begin with.

      Reply
    • Eric H

      I can’t believe this.
      I’m an American and my wife is Canadian. She has two degrees and couldn’t get a work permit in the USA after two years of trying. We moved to Canada and I had a work permit in a couple of weeks. I have no education beyond high school (self taught programmer) and it wasn’t an issue as I had years of experience.

      If you can’t sell in Canada you’re doing something very wrong.

      Reply
    • Dirty Dingus McGee

      The last of the times it happened was 7 years ago, so maybe things have changed. In the last case our company had bid the removal of a steel processing line in a closed facility in the GTA. Once our bid was submitted, a form letter was sent which basically informed us that we would be required to use Canadian workers, Canadian based trucking company’s, and Canadian sourced supplies(consumable items; wood, nails, screws, strapping, etc) in order to be able to do the work. On another occasion, I was asked to come to Canada to consult on some issues a company was having on their production line. I was informed that I would be able to advise, but any actual work was forbidden. Not by the company, but by the local authorities.

      Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      No it’s just an example of what that money buys. The Times didn’t have a picture of their house.

      Reply
  10. JustPassinThru

    Bottom line is this: When you’re in a foreign land under a PERMIT, you work and live at the pleasure of the host government and the industrial concern that sponsors you. It has always been thus, from the time of Rome.

    They misjudged. They thought, Their government would never DARE. Well, dare it has – perhaps for no fault of theirs; but the fault of the INVASION of irregulars walking over the unguarded borders.

    They misjudged their situation and now they pay the cost. Cry me a river…my old man was working in Paris for a year; and he endured weekly police check-ins. And he was no laborer in coveralls – he was a professional chemical engineer working on a major government-private initiative.

    It is how it is, in societies that wish to remain functioning societies. Citizenship MEANS something.

    Reply
  11. stingray65

    Unanswered questions:

    How can an Indian with a fake Computer Science degree keep a job that requires computer science skills? Doesn’t the fraud show up in his inability to write decent code and troubleshoot? Is the “fake” Indian still a better value to his employer than an affirmative action American with a “real” degree from one of our social justice oriented universities?

    Why does a young couple with marketable skills leave their home country? Aren’t there lots of IT and call center jobs in India? If India is such a shithole that drives its citizens to leave, who is going to fix the country’s problems if all their smartest and hardest working people are gone? Does brain drain increase the likelihood that even more people will be clamoring to leave an even deeper shithole in years to come?

    Why does an educated couple in the States on temporary visas buy a mansion that requires two good full-time incomes when they are starting a family that will almost certainly require some time off for one income earner? Were they planning to bring over their parents or siblings or cousins to be babysitters – perhaps that is why they need the mansion space?

    Shouldn’t the US shut down and ship home illegal immigrants who sneak into the US to have anchor babies at taxpayer expense, commit crimes, suck up welfare, and pay little or no taxes, before they get tough on legal immigrants that don’t commit crimes, have good jobs and are paying taxes?

    Reply
    • Eric H

      Not all of them are fake. I’ve worked with some really good ones (in Canada) as well as some that seemed like they’d never used a computer before. This is the way of all things. I used to work with a guy who is American born and raised, had a masters degree from Columbia in CS and was totally incompetent at programming. Some dumbasses find their way through.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        I know a lot of them are not fake, but it apparently is somewhat of a common problem, and yet it must work because otherwise the practice wouldn’t continue. Yet I expect a smart “fake” who is willing to work for cheap while he learns on the job is probably a better bet for the employer than an expensive native who can’t program despite a graduate degree in CS.

        Reply
  12. Shortest Circuit

    Of course there were no black people there. If someone thinks Asians are racist against blacks, oh boy, you should talk to an average Indian. (At my current employment about 90% of the workforce are these funny nodding little brown guys.) Yes they can be one of the nicest people you meet… as long as you are Caucasian.
    As for the CS skills… they come from a very different background to what Americans and Europeans are accustomed to. Because there is a little problem with overpopulation, the jobs over that exotic subcontinent are laid out like in the worst communist times: to be able to employ as many people as possible. Indian ferries generally have two command stations, one for steering and one for the engines. On construction sites there is an average of 5 different unions, each responsible for its own field. If someone who pours concrete falls ill, you can’t just ask one of the diggers to take over. Same in IT. “I don’t know, I have to ask my partner/mentor/buddy” is standard reply with them. Because of this, the distribution of responsibilities, they have a natural aversion to making decisions, they tend to sit on a problem hoping it will resolve itself etc.
    But these are my thoughts only. I am sure there are perfectly capable of doing the job, they just do it differently.

    Reply
  13. Daniel J

    These folks seem like they are actually making a contribution to society, though. While I don’t feel sorry for them, I’m not as critical of these folks as everyone else. They are being punished for past failed policies. I work with Indian immegrants who’ve become citizens or have H1BS and they are really smart and know how to write software. While I believe the old policies are destructive, I think a better approach for those on the current policy is to take each case by case before we kick them out. Many natural born citizens doing far less with their skills or education.

    Reply
    • silentsod

      Evaluating H1Bs case by case is expensive and the at scale effects of the H1B program are continuing while that occurs (pushing out qualified citizens and depressing their wages). Framing the issue that way, should we not be favoring our fellow citizens? If you don’t think being an American is binding in any way then I suppose the answer is no.

      Reply
      • Daniel J

        I never said it would be cheap. We should be favoring our fellow citizens. But everyone cries foul as soon as anyone talks about sweeping welfare reform because of the system that has been put into place. That the system has to be gradually reformed so as to not pull the rug out so to speak.

        I’m asking for exactly the same for people legally in this country who are contributing.

        Reply
        • silentsod

          I was mostly thinking aloud, as it were, and should have used “one” instead of the single use of “you” in my reply to make that clear.

          Anyways, I think that taking the time to be careful and not harm anyone by vetting the current crop is an idealistic and unrealistic proposal. Generally government bureaucracy and process becomes a self-sustaining creature which exists primarily to serve and enlarge itself. A nigh process free band aid ripping off and reset of the H1B and similar programs by expulsion at the time of expiry, while perhaps imperfect and temporarily harming some people, is a clean slate with which to begin. It treats everyone equally and removes any sort of human judgment. When they reapply for an H1B then there must be a good vetting process established to ensure they aren’t simply being brought in to displace a citizen worker.

          Reply
  14. hank chinaski

    A neighbor was recently bemoaning her high triple digit health premiums and copays vis a vi her middle eastern immigrant co-worker’s near free care (received by claiming poverty). Same co-worker’s family owns (cash based) businesses and home(s), also paid for in cash, and assorted luxury SUVs. The teenage son drives a BMW to better impress the local SWPLs.
    Stories of diamond and fur clad Russians and Chinese receiving Medicaid and other public assistance also abound.

    Reply
    • dejal

      Where I live, the Russians work their tails off. All of them. I know that’s not true everywhere, but where I live it is.
      I live about a half mile from formerly Section 8 housing. The Latin Kings had basically taken over. Russians moved in, in a big way. No more Latin Kings. Personally I’d rather take my chances with the Latin Kings than the Russians if you f’d with them in anyway.

      Next door to the apartment complex is a VERY large Russian Church, one of 2 in town. If they held services at 2 AM every day the place would be packed. I called my local public library this morning. Russian woman or at the very least eastern European answered.

      I’m looking for new kitchen counter tops. The guy I use for this and that gave me the name of a Russian in the next town over.

      I don’t doubt that people of all races and ethnicities scam the system, but if the Russians are playing straight with how they got here I’ve got no problems with them. Maybe shut the door on future ones but that’s a different subject. The Russians are acting no different than my grandparents did when they stepped off the boat a 100 years ago. Hustle your ass off, then hustle some more.

      Maybe I’m biased toward them. Both sets of grandparents came from Eastern Poland that at the time they left was referred to as Russian-Poland.

      Reply
  15. tyates

    Hi JB – When I read this article myself I was wondering what your take on it would be. I was on a project with 300+ programmers & analysts, 90% of whom were H1Bs, not too long ago. Of course a handful of analysts did all the work – how could it be otherwise? They understood the business, could communicate clearly, and were ultimately responsible for the functionality. But what’s funny is that back in my day (I’m in my 40s but had my first database programming job at 18) programmers themselves were all expected to have or develop those qualities, in addition to technical skills. But now that they’re all foreign workers, that’s considered completely unreasonable.

    Reply
  16. Jonathan Edwards

    It seems to me that this is just a different branch of the same tree that led us to discern that most modern automotive writers are garbage. It seems less about race at the base of the issue, than simply an acceptance of lower standards, both on the part of the employer and the employee. The lazy bullshit is “good enough” far too often.

    I’m all for a level playing field, for everyone, for everything. Let the best people earn the best jobs, and let the chips fall where they may. I don’t care if that ends up destroying the diversity of some industries, but who gives a fuck. The things that should be weighed and measured in this space are skill and value to the company in terms of work output and quality, not what line item that you can represent on a company’s tax return.

    The downside for many Americans in this situation, is that they simply get outworked. They are lazy and entitled, and their snowflakes are melting inside the crucible of the workplace.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Couple of thoughts here:

      0. The reason I mention race in this context is because corporations are engaging in a bizarre form of social engineering where they carpet-bomb young people of color with exhortations to BECOME A PROGRAMMER — only to pass those people over in favor of labor from India. The actual reason that corporate America loves the H1-B has nothing to do with race, although it’s my experience that once the percentage of Indians in a tech department passes 50% they simply never hire a white, Chinese, or black person again. Rather, it’s that H1-B is old-style indentured servitude with a 21st-century sheen on it.

      1. The idea of corporations hiring on no basis other than immediate per-person production sounds good in theory but in modern practice it leads to an Electronic Arts situation where people are expected to work until they drop only to be replaced by fresh meat the minute they falter. Corporations are famously bad at figuring out exactly how to measure, rank, and retain employees.

      Reply
      • dejal

        In 42 years of programming, I’ve had 2 black programming co-workers, one was a Jamaican. The other quit to become a lawyer and ultimately owned a Chinese Martial Arts Studio.

        Hispanics? Can’t think of one.

        This is in the Hartford area. Back in the 80’s every insurance company had hundreds of programmers. I didn’t work in insurance but the company hired a lot of ex insurance company programmers and a lot of people left to work as programmers for insurance companies.

        But, H1Bs? Yeah, a bunch. Many good, some meh. Pakistan, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Russia, India

        Reply
  17. Booty_Toucher

    NTY does often publish questionable opinion pieces, but the comment section (which is actually pretty well curated) often shows up to provide a voice of reason. I’m sure Jack didn’t link the original article to avoid giving them traffic, but if you follow this link and read the comments, you’ll see that not everyone in NYT’s readership is totally delusional. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/06/us/indians-h1b-visas-trump-immigration-wives.html

    Here is one from the “NYT picks” comments I can agree with:
    “This is an interesting mix of entitlement and misunderstanding the intent of the H-1B visa program. An H-1B visa is a temporary visa to recruit highly skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the US. Temporary is up to three years, with a three year extension.

    The H-1B visa is not designed to be a path to citizenship, so the fact that there is a long waiting list citizenship for individuals from one country versus another isn’t relevant.

    Demand for visas is to be driven by what skills the US needs that we currently can’t provide. The skills, education, and experience that spouses or children of foreign nationals working here is simply irrelevant.

    President Trump is correct that the H4EAD visa is a disadvantage to American workers. Individuals with this visa are able to get jobs here because, at least theoretically, their spouse is highly skilled in an area where we don’t have qualified workers. This is blatantly unfair.

    The hard truth is that the H-1B visa program has been ruined by Indian technology companies gaming the system, and the US companies that are complicit. The US is now enforcing our visa regulations, so we are subjected to these anecdotal stories where “feels” are to outweigh the law.”

    Reply
  18. Ark-med

    In the earlier (nineties to 2000), the H1B program tended to be used for US educated foreign students in engineering fields. Vetting for eligibility of hiring of non-US nationals (with US-degreed BS/MS/PhD credentials) seemed to be more assiduous (at least in my experience). H1B’s were hired into tech companies directly, with no intermediaries like Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services acting as slaveholder staffing agencies.

    Somewhere in the early aughties, the proliferation of “body shops” such as Infosys, TCS, Wipro and suchlike mini-clones, took off like crazy — and rampant abuse of the system escalated — likely because the level of scrutiny was lowered thanks to effective lobbying. These firms not only served as providers to cheap migrant labor, but also accelerated the outsourcing of IT work to India.

    That’s not to say that hiring of such US-degreed H1B’s in the purportedly pre-abuse era didn’t stagnate or lower the wages of well-qualified US-national incumbents, but was to a somewhat lesser degree.

    Reply
  19. Sonny Stitt

    Lots of great points here. I just need to point out the $4800 “mortgage” most likely includes taxes and insurance as many people escrow. I can tell you that in “flyover,” as Jack would have you believe, Ohio, taxes on a home of ~700k or up would be close to 20k per year. Take property taxes of $1667 per month off of that $4800 “mortgage” stated in the article. Note that if the value truly is 1.2M property taxes in Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin etc would be ~$30k per year or $2500 per month. If you take that off the $4800 mortgage there isn’t enough left to pay the actual mortgage.

    I believe all details point towards a ~700k house in Cali which is most certainly less than 1000 sq ft. Quite a difference from the 3500 sq/ft “mansion” that Jack mentioned…

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I went back and did the math all the way through. Livermore, CA has a hilariously low property tax rate — the taxes on a million-dollar home are only 50% more than I pay in Ohio for my hick shack.

      Assuming property insurance costs of $1,000 a year and a 10% percent downpayment, a $4,800 mortgage gets you a $1.05 million home in Livermore, CA. With zero down payment, you can still get this $965k home which is far from the average house in America:

      https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Livermore-CA/2091198903_zpid/32540_rid/950000-1050000_price/3721-4112_mp/globalrelevanceex_sort/38.042683,-120.433503,37.11105,-122.773591_rect/8_zm/

      Let’s not forget as well that under the Obama tax code, a full $4,100 per month of that would be entirely deductible, meaning that the United States taxpayers are essentially subsidizing $1,700 of that per month.

      Reply
      • Sonny Stitt

        I’ll ignore the spurious Obama tax comments. Another way to state it would be, under the Saint Reagan tax code…. the result is the same.

        Also, why pick 10% down? A home price near $1M would be a jumbo loan even in California. A jumbo would, in most cases, require 20% down or a bunch of liquid funds and easily converted investments in addition to 15% down. Also. We are both discussing 30 year notes which may or not be accurate. Knowing how some of these H1Bs save, it would not surprise me to see a 15 year mortgage and with that mortgage and 20% down a $4800 mortgage would get you a 700k house close to the aforementioned 1000 sq ft. In any event, that 956k house with 20% down and property taxes of ~9k would be ~$4700 per month. BTW that house is 2600 sq ft so not exactly a mansion again AND we are talking about 4.3% interest on the mortgage which may or may not be possible for an H1B. Assuming two incomes in Cali, the payment would be doable.

        I’m on the side of sanity when it comes to H1Bs. Wouldn’t mind seeing the number reduced as frequently the skills don’t match the resume. That said, trying to paint these people as living the high life for $4800 a month is just not reality for California.

        Why is my property tax bill in Ohio so much higher than for those in California? And not specific areas of Cali. I’m talking about LA and SF!

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          I think we’re discussing trivialities here.

          If I moved to Switzerland on a work permit, finagled a way for Danger Girl to get a job on an even less certain work permit, then bought a million-euro house — REGARDLESS OF ITS SIZE OR LUXURY “FEEL” — most people would call me an utter idiot. It wouldn’t matter how much I put down, or what term I chose, or what the precise details of the deal were. And no Swiss newspaper of record would waste thousands of dollars sending a reporter out to hear my sob story.

          That’s what these people did. They came here with the intention of displacing one American worker. Then they had the good fortune to displace TWO of them. So they went ahead and ordered up a McMansion with a side of debt. Now we are supposed to feel sorry for them.

          Reply
        • -Nate

          @Sonny ;

          Last year I paid $3,200 property taxes on my tiny little Ghetto house, do others really pay more elsewhere ? .

          For me, 2,000 square feet would feel like a mansion .

          -Nate

          Reply
  20. rnc

    “Let’s not forget as well that under the Obama tax code, a full $4,100 per month of that would be entirely deductible, meaning that the United States taxpayers are essentially subsidizing $1,700 of that per month.”

    Need to explain that one a little more, because it was deductible before and after Obama (Don’t see why that little part was needed) and its deductible to anyone with a primary residence and a mortgage…Do you have mortgage/primary residence? Are you subsidized?

    Reply
    • everybodyhatesscott

      Under the new tax code, the property taxes are limited to 10k, which living in California they’ll see no savings from that cause their state taxes will already eat it up and the mortgage interest is limited to the first 750k of the loan. That subsidy is ending for most Americans (and they’re better off for it) Starting this year (taxes season 2019) Jack will probably be a standard deduction and won’t see any savings from his mortgage interest and property taxes.

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        What he said.

        Employment worries aside, this family is about to have about $300 a month added to their overall tax bill.

        Reply
  21. Paul M.

    You are way exaggerating the situation with H1 IT visa holders pay scale relative to average American IT worker, at least relative to my fortune 10 technology based company. We work with TechMahindra, Infosys, IBM and accenture. We have pushed every company to the edge and they charge us so much less nowadays. In some cases $30 an hour for onshore resource (less for offshore). In no way, do those Indians (yes our IT departments are a sad looking all Indian department nowadays) make more money than average Americans. Not even close.

    Now, there are some very highly educated Indians, from some excellent Indian universities equivalent to MIT, that we hire for our R&D. Those get paid similar to examples you explain, but they are not anywhere close to majority.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’m just forwarding the survey data, which indicates that H1-Bs as a whole are paid more.

      I can also speak anecdotally; for the past few years I’ve looked at every H1-B pre-post I see at my contracts and I have yet to see one for UNDER $100,000.

      There’s surely a bit of averaging going on. For every one of your $30/hr gross H1-Bs, there must be a $65/hour net H1-B.

      Reply
  22. CygnusAnalogMan

    Former immigration officer here; used to do H1B site visits on the East Coast. Primarily, the lure for these folks is making more than they would make back home as an offshore IT contractor. It’s turned into quite a scam for the tech industry and third party contractors. The Fortune 500 companies get workers they can lay off at a moment’s notice if business turns south, they aren’t responsible for health benefits, 401K, etc (the third party contractor is) and the third party contractor essentially gets an indentured servant they can keep tethered to them with the promise of a green card. Employment based green cards from India and China are so oversubscribed it can take 10-20 years for their visa/green card to become available. And the workers are generally willing to stick with the third party contractor knowing that as soon as they do put in the application and it gets approved, they can switch over to a competitor because there are immigration rules that state an employment based green card is valid as long as the applicant is in valid temporary status and the new employer does similar work. Plus, those folks who do have an approved green card application, but their visa isn’t available yet, can renew those temporary work permits ad infitinum until their green card becomes available. That makes them valuable to the third party contractors because their temporary work permit doesn’t apply to the yearly H1B cap. You think IT folks have it bad? The health/science researchers at public/private universities have it worse because they are basically here for 6 years on temporary work permits, hoping that their research will land them a spot at a university or company that will sponsor them for a permanent green card and they get paid peanuts for the 6 years they are here. Had a guy doing heart research for a prominent hospital in the DC/Baltimore area, doing all the scut work/testing, etc. Made $40,000 a year. And those temporary work permits generally don’t count against the H1B cap either.

    Reply

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