SAP Watch

Mar 5 2008   11:26AM GMT

H-1b season is here

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

The most heated and partisan debate in technology is about to begin… again. Yes, we are firmly in H-1B season. On April 1, 2008, the U.S. will begin accepting petitions for temporary foreign worker visas and, if history is any guide, will be overrun by applicants within mere hours. It’s a time of mixed feelings in IT, as American workers are reminded of their job insecurity while foreign IT workers clamor for a chance to monetize their skills in the United States.

As if H-1B season needed even more drama, Microsoft’s Bill Gates is set to go before the House of Representatives next week to make what is becoming a perennial plea for the U.S. to allow in more H-1B workers. Microsoft employs thousands of such workers, so there is plenty of self-interest in play, but Gates will claim — once more — that there is a shortage of IT workers in America, and that raising the H-1B cap (over and above the current regular limit of 65,000) will allow this country to keep the tech lights on.

Last year, we heard anecdotes about American SAP specialists being locked out of work in favor of H-1B counterparts from India. This year, we’ll be keeping a close eye on H-1B developments and how they impact both American and foreign SAP specialists.

A good way to begin this discussion is to look over Bill Gates’ December 2007 article, “America’s Brain Gain.” These are some of the claims Gates made:

  • “Today, the nation’s need for graduates in science and engineering far exceeds the supply.”
  • “America’s immigration policies are increasingly driving away the world’s top talent and consequently forcing U.S. companies to expand overseas. This is having an adverse impact on U.S. competitiveness and on domestic growth in the technology industry.”
  • “Congress can…focus on comprehensive immigration reform, and on redoubling efforts to improve education and expand U.S. output of scientists and engineers, so that Microsoft and other U.S. companies can hire even more Americans.”
  • “Meanwhile, Congressional action is needed now to prevent the current shortage of highly skilled workers from resolving itself – through a job-killing economic slowdown caused by a loss of U.S. competitiveness.”

What do you SAP people think? Is Gates right or wrong? What are your perspectives?

Demir Barlas, Site Editor

6  Comments on this Post

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    The lack of jobs is a lie propagated by combination of outsourcing companies wishing to make money off of their indentured servants err.. i mean H1-B's and the onshore businesses that wish to drive down their IT salary costs. From an economic policy standpoint H1-B's are a failed program. What little money an H1-B gets to pocket most is sent back home. Due to their frugal nature they provide little stimulus to the economy and from a taxation standpoint are a small revenue source compared to their US citizen counterparts. From a job policy standpoint its obvious that the threat of outsourcing devalues IT jobs thereby disincentivising anyone from going into the field. If a tech career looked as bleak as it does now Bill G. would have probably stuck to Law. Specific to using H1-B's as an SAP resources the issue is their are many H1-B 'gamers' that give talented consultant a bad name. There are very few H1-B's who are knowledgeable and capable and it is the 'freshers' that are unethically making a quick buck by inflating their skill set to get hired on and then abusing a network of a few altruistic and knowledgeable folk willing to help them figure out how to do their job. Worse are those that are double booking their assignments.
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  • Demir Barlas
    For those of you who don't know, the "freshers" referenced in Joe SAP's comment are newly-minted IT folks looking to break into the SAP market, typically by working with an IT outsourcing outfit or systems integrator. The term fresher is used a lot in India in this context; the Indian websites and are cases in point. Demir Barlas, Site Editor
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  • Louis
    You say 65K visa,s but if you browse through this site, you will find more than 65K being processed in 2007, where is the discrepancy ? Thanks.
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  • Demir Barlas
    My understanding of the situation is that 65,000 is the "regular" limit for H-1Bs. There is also room for 20,000 additional foreign nationals who hold a Master's or other advanced degree from a U.S. university. In addition, H-1B workers employed by universities, certain nonprofit organizations, and the U.S. government are exempt from the cap. Therefore, the number of actual H-1Bs granted in any given year is routinely much higher than the official cap. Demir Barlas Site Editor
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  • Jon
    I got an email recently for H1B visa holders only in the US. I wrote back and asked if there were any openings for US citizens and the answer was no. I was looking for a project at the time and this I can see that we are only going to allow Uus citizens to work for the military pretty soon. Bill Gates and his buddies are wrong to deny jobs to US citizens so they can increase their wealth!
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  • Cohen
    Congress should remove the artificial H-1B cap. It is global, supply and demand world. Listening to nativists and racists like Dobbs, Senator Sessions, and Tancredo is pushing America further down and we are losing our competitive edge by the day!
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