Norman Matloff tells what's wrong with the H-1B visa program
The longtime H-1B nemesis talks about what's wrong with the program, why it's tough to be 40 in IT, and what he tells computer science students.
Computerworld - When Norman Matloff warned Congress about the H-1B visa program in 1998, he was one of the first to do so. His testimony, titled "Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage," helped frame the national debate over the H-1B visa. He remains the leading critic of the program, which has heavy support in Congress.
How did you get involved in the H-1B debate? Even in 1998, there were severe problems that were masked by all the hoopla about the dot-com boom. There were a number of people who just weren't able to get work, and these were generally people who were over 40, many well qualified in the classical sense -- years of significant experience. It was clear that what the industry wanted was cheap labor. One of the ways to get cheap labor is to hire young, and if you run out of young people to hire that are U.S. citizens and permanent residents, you turn to hiring young foreign people. Almost all the H-1Bs are young.
What drew your attention to the situation? I'm very deeply immersed in the Chinese immigrant community [Matloff speaks Mandarin, and his wife is an immigrant from Hong Kong] and saw a lot of people that were hired on H-1 visas [the predecessor of the H-1B program] who were not really good. So I had suspicions.
Don't your connections with the immigrant community put pressure on you to favor more relaxed policies on immigration? People who are immigrants are harmed by H-1Bs just like the natives are, even the ones who are originally H-1Bs. The minute they get a green card, they are somewhat less employable, and when they hit age 35 and 40, they are a lot less employable, just like the natives are.
I will assume you have some foreign students in your computer science classes. At the undergraduate level, the number of foreign students is small. The graduate level is different. This was all planned for by the National Science Foundation. Their concern was that Ph.D. salaries were too high, and they said that they were going to remedy it by bringing in a lot of foreign students. Swelling the labor pool will reduce the salaries or reduce the growth in salaries, and that was at the same time NSF was pushing Congress to enact the H-1B program. NSF also said at the time that by limiting salaries, Americans would be dissuaded from pursing graduate degrees and, of course, that's exactly what happened. So now you see only 50% of the Ph.D.s in computer science go to Americans.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results
- Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data... All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts