Saturday, September 08, 2007

H-1Blues

Proving yet again that Microsoft thinks that arrogance is a viable marketing strategy, they're crowing about taking U.S. jobs to a foriegn country because they don't like the laws in this one. From here:
Fed up with U.S. immigration hurdles, Microsoft announced July 5 plans to open a software development center in Vancouver, British Columbia, that it hopes will "be home to software developers from around the world."
...
In a press release, Microsoft did not mince words about how the new facility will allow "the company to recruit and retain highly skills people affected by immigration issue in the U.S.," a move that seems to send a clear message to the senators who let the H-1B increase slip through employers' fingers.
Maybe if the senators didn't try importing the whole third world on the same bill, the H-1B provisions would have fared better. On the whole I have torn feelings on H-1B. I don't care for the fact that it depresses the wages for skilled U.S. workers (especially for IT workers like yours truly); however, I like the idea of looting the smart people from countries that the U.S. would otherwise have to compete with. As well, an influx of East Indian immigrants (who may, or may not have come over on an H1-B visa) have kept the Cleveland suburb in which I live from going the way of other old immigrant neighborhoods in the area and turning into a slum full of refugees from the Cleveland city proper.

I'll note though, that big corporatations complaining about their inability to import cheap(er) labor puts the stink of corporate welfare onto H-1B, as well as other immigration programs, such as the following. From here:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will raise application fees an average of 66 percent. The cost to become a legal permanent resident, known as a green-card holder, will jump from $180 to $1,450.

A Painesville group that advocates for Hispanic migrant workers predicted the staggering jump will be a devastating blow to workers and the area's farm economy.

"It is only going to drive farm workers deeper into poverty," said Veronica Dahlberg, director of the Hispanic Organizations of Lake and Ashtabula Counties. "Farm workers are notoriously underpaid."

Many of the region's small produce farms and nurseries depend on foreigners who get paid by how much they pick. A worker earns about $10,000 annually, said Dahlberg. "They get paid by the bucket," she said, estimating that at 45 cents a bucket of tomatoes, a worker would have to pick 2,067 buckets -- or 66,000 pounds of tomatoes -- to pay the new green-card fee.
Here's an idea, if the nursery loves so much to depress the wages of low skilled, low wage Americans, why don't they pay for the green card fee?

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