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Of Immigration and Indenturement
Majority of $1B Tech Companies Started by Immigrants
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  • Kevin

    H1B is indentured servitude at best.
    Every single one of these visas granted is also based on a purjured statement that there are no Americans who can do the job and that an effort has been made to find such Americans.

    • Andrew Allison

      Too sweeping. Some perhaps, not all.

      • f1b0nacc1

        I think you might be able to find a few minor exceptions, but very, very few indeed.

        • Andrew Allison

          No question that there’s rampant abuse of H-1B (and even more of J-1). I just feel that manifestly inaccurate blanket assertions are unhelpful. One solution might be to charge enough for each visa to fund proper examination of the applications, which appear to be granted routinely. I also think the widespread anger (which I share) about illegal immigration (a much, much more serious problem) should not cloud the visa abuse issue.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Given the way that H-1Bs are abused, the charge for them would have to be so high as to be almost excessive. Saddling the abusers with direct civil liability when hit with abuse (which would massively increase their costs), as well as serious enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the tech world (if the discrimination against workers over 40, for instance, was being done against blacks or women, there would be rioting in the streets) would help. Given the enormous influence of the tech titans in Washington, I don’t see much hope of this, however, so simply killing the H-1B program in toto looks like the best approach. I am NOT against immigration, but the H-1B program (and yes, you are right when you mention J-1 as well) is simply a way to ‘jump the queue’ for the benefit of a few well-connected companies.

          • Andrew Allison

            Completely off-topic but, as a fellow cynic, you must have been as shocked, SHOCKED as I was to learn that, having met serious resistance, the FBI has decided that maybe it doesn’t need a GovOS after all.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Of course, and now that they stand a real danger of losing their case (which would establish precedent that encryption is a right…something that they dare not risk), they are trying to back away…

            I am SHOCKED, just SHOCKED….

          • Andrew Allison

            It was snoop opportunism pure and simple, and the fact that they didn’t back off when Apple said no was sheer stupidity. Intelligence has apparently become a one-word oxymoron.

          • f1b0nacc1


          • Ofer Imanuel

            I worked for 6 years as H1B, am working since 1999 in companies that sponsor and have H1B employees (6 in all), my wife worked as H1B, and I am interviewing and hiring people on H1B. Hopefully I know something on the subject.
            I did not run into H1B abuse. A person may take his first H1B job with lower salary. But he may ask for a transfer (google “H1B transfer”). Getting the first H1B is painful, and hence employers will pay somewhat less. Transfer is easy and pretty cheap, so an H1B recipient competes on almost equal footing with a U.S citizen.
            The closest thing I saw to abuse are the “contractors” – employees of a company like InfoSys, who get significantly lower wages compared to the real employer, and are forbidden to switch to the real employer (Goldman Sachs in this case). They can still transfer to any other company. Another is that the green card process takes so long, and is interrupted by switching employers, that H1B employees may be less willing to transfer while their green card application is in process.
            If your concern is that H1B employees are taking good jobs from Americans, you are on much firmer footing. Due to the ability of hiring smart, energetic non-citizens, American companies can be much more picky, do not want to invest in training employees, and have a higher bar to get accepted.
            On the other side, if forced to be less picky, the advantage of outsourcing will get higher.
            Bottom line: to keep the good jobs for Americans, you will need to block skilled immigration AND block outsourcing. You may also have to raise customs barriers, to compensate for the reduced competitiveness of American companies.
            I think a much better deal would be to encourage skilled immigration, using a system like Canada or Australia.

          • f1b0nacc1

            No offense intended, but as an H-1B, you are hardly an uninterested party.

            With that said, as someone who has worked with H-1Bs (and there are many excellent ones….my objection to the program is NOT that the people are bad, it is that the program is abused), the number of abuses I have seen is quite literally beyond counting. The Contractors are clearly the worst problem, most of them are roughly akin to slaves in thrall to their employers, but they aren’t the only difficulties. The abuse of credentialism, for instance is fairly common, and the tendency of companies employing H-1Bs to threaten them with ‘a return to the village’ if they don’t undertake extra work for no compensation is something that you see all the time when H-1Bs are involved.

            The boogeyman of outsourcing (“if you don’t allow H-1Bs, you get outsourcing”) doesn’t wash….outsourcing isn’t free. The costs of setting it up and maintaining it are quite considerable, and numerous American firms have tried outsourcing, only to bring it back in-house once they see what they have to deal with. It sounds great at first, but those ‘smart, energetic non-citizens’ are all too often frauds, lacking experience, language skills, and cultural compatibility (particularly when working with women) that make them unsuitable for anything other than grunt work.

            I don’t object to encouraging skilled immigration, and in fact I suspect we agree with this. Once an immigrant is safely in the US and not subject to H-1B abuse, they are competing on a level playing field with American workers….how could we object to that? Blocking outsourcing ins’t a vital concern….the fact that the tech titans are obsessed with H-1Bs tells us that they don’t see outsourcing as a viable option.

            I wish you the best of good luck here….my objection to H-1B abuse should NOT be seen as an objection to you….but to the way that American companies abuse the system….

          • Ofer Imanuel

            I am a US citizen for the last several years, and green card holder before that, so my personal motives are out of the picture. As for outsourcing, I can tell you from personal knowledge that large financial firms like Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs are doing it successfully, and big Pharma Novartis is doing it as well (well enough to close a lot of the R&D in the U.S at least).
            The threats you mentioned are much more relevant to visas that can’t be transferred, like E1 and L1. I suggest that you check on H1B transfer, for example

  • Rodney

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the purpose of H-1B to bring in foreign workers with skill sets in short supply here? If this is the case, the companies that have been bringing in H-1B workers as replacements for American workers are gaming the system. I wonder if anyone has thought to survey those workers laid off after having to train their own replacements to see how many of them are now Trump supporters.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Whatever the stated purpose of H-1B visas are (and I believe your description is a good one), the real purpose of them is to give (mostly) tech companies the option of bringing in indentured servants to keep their labor costs down.

  • Beauceron

    Look, we are getting millions of new immigrants. It’s what the elites want on both sides of the political aisle, for various reasons– and the one thing new immigrants want is more people from their group let into the country. The country is headed now for a super-sized version of the identity politics the Left has been pushing for decades.

    What comes next in this orchestrated crash are whites. It’s one thing to always yield to employment set asides, government contracts and college entrance scores and scholarships when you are 75% of the population. It is another when you are 33%. White people, (Euro Americans?) are going to have to get over the inevitable David Duke after-taste that organizing leaves so that their group can get in line for government largesse.

    • Andrew Allison

      With respect, you appear to be confused. H-1B visa holders are not, as the post makes clear, immigrants. If they leave or lose their jobs they are subject to deportation. It is probably the case that some employers are indeed replacing Americans rather than filling jobs that can’t be filled, but that’s illegal. The problemof the Dems attempting to flood the country with illegal immigrants made legal is a horse of a quite different color.

      • Stormcrow

        My question is if it is illegal where are the charges for the Disney management who pulled the H-1B card on their tech employees?

        • Andrew Allison

          Not sure I understand you question. If Disney supported H-1B visa applications to replace Americans it is, as I described, illegal and the displaced workers have redress. If there are no charges filed, one must ask why. If there were employees who were replaced with H-1B visa holders, there are 1001 ambulance chasers who would be happy to take up the cause.

          • Kevin

            As a practical matter American workers displaced or never hired have no redress. AFAIK there is no private right of action to contest H1B visas being issued. The Feds may or may not approve any particular visa, though the real point of decision is the limited number of visas available in the annual lottery.

          • Beauceron

            I believe Disney workers have filed a class action. I doubt much will come of it. H1B has been used to suppress wages for years, and nothing has been done about it.

      • Beauceron

        Not confused at all. But I see illegal immigration, mass legal immigration, and H1B as a continuum used by both politicians and businesses for their advantage.

  • John Dowd

    Any of these guys illegal aliens? I guess we don’t need millions of immigrants after all. Forty four immigrants over whatever time period this study covers will do quite nicely.

    • Andrew Allison

      How to put this politely? Is it really so difficult to grasp that anybody entering with a visa is a legal immigrant?

      • John Dowd

        No problem with anybody entering with a legal visa as long as it’s terms are followed. As long as that person comes for the reason that stated in the visa and they leave when there time is up. No person who grossly violates a visa should ever be readmitted to our country.

  • Jim__L

    NFAP and TAI are making the numbers dance, here.

    Using a billion-dollar valuation cutoff is arbitrary. It would be best to measure rates of job creation, rather than valuation. Considering the fact that small businesses tend to add far more jobs than large ones, ignoring small business just goes to show how out-of-touch elites are.

    The fact that those 44 “billion-dollar” companies only added a paltry 33,000 jobs to the economy is a crying shame. That’s over a million in valuation for each job. How exactly does that help the average worker?

    Guys, if you can’t wrap your heads around valuing what happens to the average worker here, Trump is going to win. More than that, if the fundamental value of democracy is its tendency to reward responsiveness to the needs of the citizenry, Trump is going to DESERVE to win.

    I do not think the man is trustworthy or honest. I do not think the man would make a good president. But if he teaches the elites of this country the fundamental value of RESPONSIVENESS, or even if he wipes out the elites as a class and we have to start over again, his running for president will have rejuvenated this country.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Thank you….that last paragraph encapsulates a lot (not all, but a lot) of my feelings about Trump exceptionally well, and I hope you don’t mind if I use it when talking about him in the future…

    • Boritz

      “the elites as a class.”

      Allan Bloom wrote about how one way in which the French Revolution was more problematic than the American was the need to be rid of an indigenous royal class. Historically speaking Trump is a mild solution.

  • Perturbed Pundit

    Anderson’s study confirms what many have been saying for a long time: The H-1Bs are generally NOT the best and the brightest, and the nation would benefit by changing the visa program to focus on the outstanding talents. Anderson’s findings, in other words, show exactly what is WRONG with H-1B and various proposals to reform it.


    Anderson finds that immigrants are founders (OR cofounders, a point I’ll come back to) of 51% of the billion-dollar startups. Yet immigrants form more than 51% of Silicon Valley techies, so once again we see that the immigrants are UNDERperforming.

    Among those immigrant founders, 14 (out of 44) are from India, 32%. Yet Indians form 70% of the H-1Bs. So the Indians are underperforming too. Most of the founders are from countries from which we have rather few H-1Bs, such as Western Europe, Canada and Israel.

    Only 1/4 of the immigrant founders came to the U.S. as foreign students, counter to the industry’s claim that foreign students are the best of the H-1Bs.

    Of those with U.S. degrees, most are from the really top schools, such as MIT and Stanford — quite a contrast to the Staple a Green Card proposals, which would give an automatic green card to any foreign STEM graduate student, no matter how weak the school is.

    As usual in these “studies,” anyone born abroad is considered an immigrant, such as an example Anderson cites, Kenneth Lin of Credit Karma. Lin immigrated to the U.S. with his parents at age 4, hardly the poster boy for the H-1B work visa program that Anderson implies. Others on Anderson’s listed cofounded their firms with Americans, yet he gives them full credit.

    Before H-1B, we had the old H-1 visa, titled “Aliens of Distinguished Merit and Ability,” basically the “best and brightest” theme. That did deteriorate over the years, so that anyone with a college degree because “distinguished,” but it certainly had the right intent. Anderson’s study shows that H-1B doesn’t fulfill that intent at all.

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