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Foreign High-Tech Workers: a Scapegoat for a sagging Economy? I don't think So.

Posted by schaefa on September 12, 2003 at 7:27 AM PDT

I wanted to start my weblog at a little bit differently but as a former H1-B visa holder Sue’s Spielman weblog with the title “Outsourcing in my company? I do not think so.” stroke a cord and I had to respond. The most replies turn around these sentences:

I am a true believe that the legislation currently being proposed to lower the H-1B and L-1B visa quotas will not go far enough. I think these visas should be abolished until all of the unemployed and laid-off IT workers and engineers who are US citizens are back on a payroll.

Even thought that these two sentence does not have to do much with the title or the rest of the weblog entry these sentences were (mis)understood by many commentators as a request to kick out the visa holders out of the country but it actually says the visas should be abolished. Nevertheless I think it is absurd to think that H1-B and L1-B visa holders are responsible for most of the unemployed IT workers and that a ban will only increase the desire for US companies to outsource their IT departments. Even thought we can all agree to disagree the next sentence:

The fact that a US company thinks that hiring a barely-English-speaking worker in India or the Philippines is going to solve their competitive problems is just absurd.

sounds more like said by a populist politician than an educated software engineer. What is absurd is the thought that all H1-B/L1-B visa workers are coming from India and the Philippines and that all of them do barely speak English. As example I am coming from Switzerland (no, not Sweden) and spoke publicly on many occasions.

As with the outsourcing the underlying problem is that (greedy) executives try to save money through shortsighted decisions and we all have to pay for it afterwards. In my opinion the only solution to prevent the visa holders from being extorted is to make them less dependable from their employers for a balanced competition between local and foreign employees and outsourcing can only be prevented by the customers putting quality and support over cheap products and services.

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