I wonder how Bill Gates would feel if each new H-1B applicant came here with a new operating system in his portfolio? An OS that ran rings around Windows and included the best desktop applications ever seen.
I wonder if Mr. Gates would then be so eager to remove the cap on H-1B visas.
Actually, we know how Mr. Gates reacts to competition. We saw the evidence, including memos from Gates to staff, during the United States versus Microsoft antitrust trial back in 1998.
So it is okay to squelch competition and innovation and the possible creation of more jobs if it threatens your dominance.
I think Gates and others know very well that H-1B is often misused as a way to reduce wages by hiring foreign workers at a lower pay scale. But they assuage their guilty conscience, if they have one, by believing that in the long run, increasing the pool of skilled high-tech workers available to U.S. companies will benefit our economy by creating more innovation, which in turn creates more jobs.
Even if this is true, does that mean we should let people drown in the short run for the common good? I don't think so.
Here's an excerpt with Berry's links from the blog of Kim Berry, the president of the Programmer's Guild, written in anticipation of Gates' testimony.
Gates will claim that H-1B workers are paid the "prevailing wage." To the extent that this means "parity with what U.S. workers earn in the same jobs," this is false. DOL defines four levels of “prevailing wage,” and Level One is about the 17th percentile of the average wage of U.S. workers within the job classification –- more than 80 percent of H-1Bs are at Level One. DOL approves H-1B programmers to work in Silicon Valley for $40,000 per year -- hardly a "prevailing wage" -- and hardly an indication that these workers are the "best and brightest."
Here's the link for the entire blog by Berry.
There has to be a more equitable solution, and that is to monitor the H-1B program more closely. Yes, allow H-1B visa applicants to work here, but also make sure that every visa is actually used for a person who possesses a skill that cannot be found here in the States.