How big offshoring companies pwned the H-1B process, screwing workers and businesses

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This isn’t a surprise to anyone who works in a technology field. And as a hiring manager, I won’t sponsor.

They’ve gamed the system best by “monetarily influencing” our lawmakers who then trumpet the successes and benefits of the H1B program, repeating it enough until it becomes true.


Notice on the Infosys gate: Trespassers will be employed.

This is a running gag in India, because of the absurd numbers they take in.


Of course if one cares about real income equality, rather than “there are people vastly richer than me”, programs like this as well as open immigration are by far one of the most effective methods of reducing global inequality, which makes far more difference to more people’s lives than the inequality in the developed countries.

Now, I don’t support open borders (although I do support healthy immigration), but I don’t pretend that almost anyone with a minimal middle class living isn’t rich, nor do I pretend that reducing real inequality isn’t going to directly impact me and my children.

I might also point out that Cory himself sells his services (books) to many different countries, presumably displacing native authors in each country in which he sells books. I approve, of course, but attacking other workers who attempt to do as he does seems odd…

It’s been a tough week. I’ll have some of those drugs you’re on.


On of my favorite H1B tactics is to demand a higher degree and offer minimum wage. When no workers from the U.S. who qualify accept the offer, they will bring in an H1B. It’s a nifty little end run on the system.

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This isn’t doing what you think it is to combat global income inequality.

They are not giving the poor jobs, they are giving middle to upper-middle class people jobs. Yes, they are making more money than at home, but cost of living being what it is back home, they are making a mint.

My understanding is that the tech workers are generally of the Brahmin caste, which is the highest caste. While the caste system was banned, there is not much social mobility still.

other workers := big offshoring companies

Cory has quotes to make explicit that the gaming-of-the-system by large companies means that smaller companies can’t get the workers they need.


Your understanding would be incorrect.

That was true maybe a decade ago, but of my friends and ex-colleagues who have gone abroad - especially those who have gone on H-1Bs, I don’t think I can point to more than 20% Brahmins. In the last decade or so, the caste mix is much more diverse. Quite a few of those going abroad now might be first generation learners, often from marginal families.

Also, caste is a really difficult subject; even I would be scared to generalise, and I can assure you that you don’t understand it well enough to do so.

Full disclosure - I’m Brahmin by birth, happily working in my own country.


I think in large part because India is rapidly developing a powerful economy. I think that the environment for Indians overall has gotten much better over just the past decade, to say nothing of the past two or three. There’s a bit of a rising tide there. I’d be very surprised if poorer Indians saw no benefit, even if the wealthy are reaping the lion’s share of benefit. I wouldn’t be surprised if caste concerns intensified when the economic situation levels off. Though I agree that caste is complicated. I remember being told that foreigners were simply “non-caste” and wondering how that worked.

“You can’t walk there! The floor is lava.”

“Oh! I’m Chilean, I’m not playing your game.”


Do you need a hug?


Betty White’s facial expression there perfectly describes my whole life right now.


I’m sorry! I hope things get better. One more…


*to be fair my first big trip to India where this was explained to me was about 10 years ago now.

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I remember that episode. Brock says the strangest line I’ve ever heard him say.

“I killed a guy, and now I feel… Kinda bad.”


I understand that he’s going after the companies, but lets face it, that’s essentially going after the workers who are employed by those companies.

The strange thing is that I strongly doubt he’d go after the unskilled immigrants that one could argue make it a lot harder for unskilled natives to obtain jobs.

Well, quite agreed there. But (perhaps incorrectly) I felt the tilt of the article was “they’re stealing our jobs”. Which one could claim, I suppose, but seems a bit odd when the result is wealth redistribution in the direction he usually approves of.

When I lost my job (okay, contract not renewed) because of offshoring, it hurt, but I was in a vastly better position to make the best of it compared to those who don’t have the skills, education or experience.

Now, like most of us, I’m willing to deny much of the rest of the world their best means of escaping poverty in order to increase the chances that my children retain their position among the global 1% (= Western middle class), but I don’t try and pretend I’ve got got the moral high ground while doing so.

That’s a rather weird tilt, given 1) he’s a Canadian who lived for many years in England and is in the process of moving to LA (again) which would make the whole “our jobs” bit really quite hard to parse and 2) it’s all about the big companies grabbing up the visas so the small companies can’t get visas, so there’s no net jobs stolen – it’s the distribution that is the issue.

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I think the point was more that large companies exploiting a broken system to extract value by making themselves an inevitable middleman.

(everything I say from this point is based on my understanding of the article - I’m not claiming personal experience) For most companies, hiring someone on an H1B has become significantly more difficult , because there are a fixed number of h1b slots, those slots are first come first serve, and large outsourcing companies grab up all of the slots as soon as they open.

This means that if a company wants to hire person X from another country, they can’t do it with an H1B, but they can contract to the outsourcing company and have person X work for them indirectly. In this scenario, the company is paying more for person X, person X is typically making less, and outsourcing company is taking a big chunk for sitting in the middle, exploiting a near monopoly on foreign talent


That’s what corporations do.

Worse are the government’s that enable these psychopaths.

Rereading more carefully, I think you’re right. I’m so used to seeing the populist bent that his added comment “shut down whole departments in the USA and replace them with lower-cost overseas workers who are exploited far from home…” tilted my reading of the article.

Of course, that would lead to the obvious question: Given that Cory himself is able to move countries and find employment fairly easily (presumably not having to use an H1-B), does he believe that companies should be able to hire whomever they wish regardless of citizenship?

This would indeed solve the problem of getting critically needed workers, but I’m not certain it would meet the approval of the majority of readers here.