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Programming The Almighty Buck United States IT Technology

No Americans Need Apply 1374

Posted by michael
from the giant-sucking-sound dept.
Victor G. Sommers writes "Daniel Soong, who lost his programming job to Indian offshore companies, is willing to relocate to India. 'It would be really interesting to work in Bangalore,' he says. 'But I was told, "Daniel, it is against the law for you to work here. You can come here on vacation, but you can't work here."' Indian officials have told him they don't hire Americans." An article in ComputerWorld talks about the possibility of getting more than you bargained for in outsourced code.
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No Americans Need Apply

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  • Duh... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tliet (167733) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:41PM (#6932273)
    Well, duh... As a dutchman it's also not possible for me to relocate to the USA. Unless I prove that there's no way my skills can be found in the States.
    • Re:Duh... (Score:4, Funny)

      by (startx) (37027) <slashdot.unspunproductions@com> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:46PM (#6932367) Journal
      There are two types of people I hate in this world. Those who are intolerent of other people's culture, and the Dutch!
      • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Informative)

        by soundcore (688686) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:19PM (#6932909)
        Read this and then come back and we'll talk. http://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B/Horror.htm
        • Re:Duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gmezero (4448) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @03:13PM (#6934758) Homepage
          So after we ship all of our jobs overseas, who the hell is going to be left to buy the things these companies make?!?!

          As it stands, the only people I know who have a consistent job tommorow are CEOs/VPs, service workers (want fries with that), and Smut peddlers... and as it stands, if we don't have any money, those service jobs are going to dry up as well.

          ARGHHHH! Guess it's time to pitch my morals and get into porn :(
          • Miners (Score:5, Interesting)

            by core plexus (599119) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @05:04PM (#6936292) Homepage
            So after we ship all of our jobs overseas, who the hell is going to be left to buy the things these companies make?!?!

            Well, there's always miners. Mining jobs are among the highest-paying jobs in the country (U.S.). Support mining and miners in your community, for not only do miners provide the raw materials (avg. is 45,000lbs/year of newly mined minerals for each American) for everything from basic infrastructure, agriculture, communications, power generation, etc. to luxury goods, but the money we spend in the community, from equipment to services to goods, helps everyone. I know it isn't perfect, but you have to admit that countries with abundant natural resources are the richer nations.

            I'm relatively secure in my job discovering mineral deposits, knowing that for at least the next hundred years or more, we'll still need everything from gravel to gold, and that we'll need someone to find those deposits, and mine them.

            -cp-

        • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TopherC (412335) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @06:06PM (#6936895)
          As someone who only speaks one language (called "an American") I find it an easy mistake to judge someone's intelligence by how well they speak English. It sounds like the author(s) of the stuff on this webpage are making the same mistake too. But as a physicist, I work with a lot of other people with Ph.D's for whom English is a second (or 3rd, 4th, or 5th) language, so my mistaken prejudices are gradually wearing off.

          For one example, I think that most foreign physicists I work with have better written grammar than the average US physicist, as more often than not these folks write the best papers. And on the other hand, I knew another fellow student who had great trouble speaking and writing English (and programming languages for that matter) in spite of several years of learning and speaking in the US, but who was an absolutely brilliant mathematician and theoretical physicist.

          So, a person's English-speaking skills are not a good measure of how well they communicate. And communication is just one dimension of intelligence, which itself is a massively multidimensional thing. IMHO intelligence is impossible to quantify in any meaningful way.
      • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Funny)

        by dipipanone (570849) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:28PM (#6933058)
        "I'm a British tourist
        And I'm very very rude.
        I hate the foreigners
        I hate their stinking food.

        I don't like French or Germans
        Or care for Belgians much
        But most of all, most of all
        I hate the Dutch!

        The Dutch, the Dutch
        With fingers in their dikes
        They use the wrong side of the road
        And ride around on bikes.

        They don't have any manners
        They don't say "thanks" or "please"
        And all they eat is tulips
        And stinking gouda cheese."

        British Tourist,
        John Dowie
      • Re:Duh... (Score:4, Funny)

        by rmohr02 (208447) <mohr.42@NospAM.osu.edu> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @02:30PM (#6934131)
        Semi-related quote: "There are two things I hate in this world: racial profiling, and Arabs on my plane."
    • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JoeBuck (7947) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#6932420) Homepage

      But as a Dutch citizen you can follow your job to Germany or the UK or Italy, because within the EU there is free trade for both labor and for capital. "Free trade" advocates these days want free movement of capital and goods, but not workers.

      In WTO-world, corporations can move their jobs across borders but workers cannot follow. This one-sidedness pushes salaries down everywhere, as companies seek the cheapest available labor.

      • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TWX (665546) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:09PM (#6932763)
        "In WTO-world, corporations can move their jobs across borders but workers cannot follow. This one-sidedness pushes salaries down everywhere, as companies seek the cheapest available labor."

        What'll be the end of this, though? Eventually there'll be enough stabilization over the globe that it won't matter as much. I don't think that it'll happen in my lifetime, so it won't help me any, but as the world grows closer, I could envision this happening. Some countries with less free market play than here will have an advantage, for a while, but ultimately I think that it'll even out.

        The other trouble is that we're seeing paradigm shifts that people aren't ready for. Remember what happened to the Swiss watch and clock makers once Japanese engineers perfected the use of quartz for accurate timekeeping? Their entire industry disappeared in a matter of months. In this case, if programmers as a whole are overpaid or are charging too much for their work as others perceive it, then the others are going to find a solution that doesn't involve the programmers. It's happened in other industries before, it'll happen again, I'm sure.
      • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chmilar (211243) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @02:45PM (#6934392)
        The term "free trade" is often used to describe trade agreements which do not fit the definition.

        True free trade allows:

        • Free movement of goods.
        • Free movement of capital.
        • Free movement of labor.

        The European Union has all three. It is a true "free trade" system.

        Most others, including NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), do not allow free movement of labor. NAFTA permits "brain drain" labor movement to occur fairly easily ("temporary" work visas are easy to obtain for skilled/educated workers), but unskilled labor cannot cross borders.

        NAFTA and its ilk are not free trade agreements. They are better described as trans-national outsourcing agreements.

      • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jimsum (587942) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @05:26PM (#6936561)
        You are not correct that jobs always go to the lower wage country. Wages in Canada are generally lower than in the U.S., but during the tech bubble, many Canadian businesses were bought and the jobs were transferred to the U.S. At the time there was a management fad that thought that all your employees had to be together in the same place.

        Now we have a fad for outsourcing, and Canada is again bypassed to go to places even cheaper. It is never good to be in the middle :-)

        Before Americans get too riled up about the Indians, they should perhaps examine their own history of buying companies and moving them to the U.S. American immigration laws prevented employees of those companies from following "their" jobs too. They might also reflect on where the revenue that pays their wages comes from, maybe foreigners think they are entitled to share some of the wages that their purchases make possible.

        As far as I am concerned, Americans are just getting a taste of what other countries have gone through the last few years. Americans disproportionally benefited from the tech bubble and may have a false idea of how much they are really worth.
    • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by boomgopher (627124) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:50PM (#6932438) Journal
      I think the point being made is that everyone bitches about how jobs are moving overseas because of American's extravagant lifestyles, etc. But when someone is willing to move to a place where you can live dirt-cheap, the government over there won't allow it.

      And actually you can move right on in to California now, since the retarded state gov is basically trying abolish all immigration law. Come on over!

    • by gosand (234100) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:03PM (#6932668)
      Well, duh... As a dutchman it's also not possible for me to relocate to the USA. Unless I prove that there's no way my skills can be found in the States.

      If you know how to spell, use proper English, and can recognize that two stories are duplicates, you could probably be the editor of some tech news blog.

    • Re:Duh... (Score:4, Funny)

      by El (94934) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:14PM (#6932841)
      Have you tried marrying an American? It worked for my wife...
    • Re:Duh... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rifter (147452)

      Well, duh... As a dutchman it's also not possible for me to relocate to the USA. Unless I prove that there's no way my skills can be found in the States.

      Informative, my ass. Funny, maybe. Yes, you can come here and work. The requirements of the work visas indeed are that no Americans can do the job and that the applicant gets paid the same as Americans. But that is not what is happening here. The whole point is that these laws have no effect because they are not enforced. RTFA, Americans are being

  • Just usual (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karamchand (607798) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:41PM (#6932279)
    That's common in many countries all around the world. As long as you aren't a citizien it is rather hard to get a job - not just because of possible prejudices but also simply because you are not allowed to!
  • by ksheka (189669) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:44PM (#6932320)
    The laws are probably similar to the US:
    You can't immigrate to work unless you can prove that you can do a job that no one else in the country can do.
    If it wasn't for this law, the US would be flooded (more so than now) with techs and doctors from all over asia.
    • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#6932408) Homepage
      and did you read the article?

      A MAN SHOT HIMSELF BECAUSE HE ENDED UP TRAINING HIS INDIAN REPLACEMENT.

      So, if this man could come to the US and BE TRAINED by a CITIZEN what could this man do that the CITIZEN could not?
      • He could get an H-1B visa, evidently.

    • by zoid.com (311775) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:04PM (#6932677) Homepage Journal
      Have you ever heard of the H-1B Visa program? H-1B workers continue to flood a terrible job market. During 2001 and 2002, 799,100 H-1B visas were issued and renewed despite a 6 percent national unemployment. Read some speech excerpt [oddhobby.com] by U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo.

      It's time to terminate the the H-1B visa program.
    • The laws are probably similar to the US:
      You can't immigrate to work unless you can prove that you can do a job that no one else in the country can do.


      I dunno, I see a lot of Indians here in the US doing jobs that I could be doing. Must not be too hard for them to immigrate here.

      Basically here's the phone conversation between the US Dept. of Immigration and the HR person for the company trying to hire an Indian worker:

      Immigration Officer (IO): "So there's nobody else in the US who can do C++ programmi
  • Sovereign country (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:44PM (#6932321)
    India is a sovereign country. They can do that with impunitity. I have no problem with that.

    USA is also a sovereign country. Let's do the same. It's about time we stop issuing visas to people who steal native born Americans' jobs.

    Before some slashbot calls me a racist, let me tell you that I don't care if you are a black, white, hindu, christian, jew or a muslim. If you're American, I've got nothing against you. But if you think you should be able to just waltz in and have a job or study at one of our universities, think again.

  • The bigger story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cindik (650476) <solidusfullstop&cindik,com> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:45PM (#6932347) Homepage Journal
    of the two is the malware threat. Most countries have labor restrictions (when i went to an improv festival in Toronto, Canadian officials wanted to be certain I wasn't there to make $25 or so performing somewhere some night). But the risk of getting a little extra code in your outsourced project is something about which execs ought to be aware.
  • Seriously: typical wage for Indian IT graduate: $200/month. Equivalent for US graduate: 10--20 times more.

    It is almost redundant to say that Indian firms won't be hiring many Americans.

    Curiously, my little firm is now subcontracting for Indian firms, so perhaps the rules can be bent a little for genius Belgians. C'est genial!
  • by Altima(BoB) (602987) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:46PM (#6932358)
    With the exception of places like the EU, it is not unusual for foreigners to just pack up and grab a job someplace else. I doubt people will be surprised by this, considering that what happened three years ago today reminded people to tighten Visa restrictions. Who knows, it may have been much easier five years ago, but today that's just the way it is. Here in Ireland there are immigrants who are qualified doctors, but because they aren't allowed to work here as anything other than a fast food counter-person, their skills are totally wasted. It's not discrimination, it's just the way the world works.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:46PM (#6932360)
    They should let Americans work at Indian conveinence stores!

    That way, no matter where it is in the world, it'll be fucking impossible to get a big gulp and a chilli dog.
  • hidden malware story (Score:3, Informative)

    by herrvinny (698679) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:47PM (#6932370)
    Hidden malware in offshore products raises concerns

    Story by Mark Willoughby

    SEPTEMBER 11, 2003 ( COMPUTERWORLD ) - "You've go to be a little paranoid to survive in this business." -- Andrew S. Grove, chairman and founder, Intel Corp., ca. 1980
    The extreme difficulty in discovering a back door hidden deep within a complex application, buried among numerous modules developed offshore in a global software marketplace, is forcing those assigned to protect sensitive national security information to take defensive actions.

    The threat of hidden Trojan horses and back doors surfaced this summer when the governments of the U.S. and China announced plans to strengthen national security policies covering information processed by applications written in the global software marketplace. The private sector joined the fray with the August announcement of the File Signature Database, which will use hash values to protect software integrity from malicious additions (see story).

    The National Security Agency's information assurance director, Daniel Wolf, in testimony before the House Select Committee on Homeland Security's cybersecurity subcommittee in July, called for a federal lab that would "find malicious software routines that are designed to morph and burrow into critical applications." Separately, the State Council of the People's Republic of China in August directed all government ministries to buy only Chinese software in the next upgrade cycle in an effort to encourage the development of local software companies but also to protect sensitive government data.

    Mark Willoughby, CISSP, is a 20-year IT industry veteran and journalist with degrees in computer science and journalism. For the past seven years, he has tracked security and risk management start-ups and is a managing consultant at MessagingGroup, a Denver-based content development specialist.

    Steps taken so far

    The simmering global paranoia is rooted in the realization that no simple solution exists today, experts say. It is virtually impossible to find unauthorized malware hidden deep within a sophisticated multitiered application with data normalization, messaging middleware and other modules originating from labs in a half-dozen countries.

    Robert Lentz, the U.S. Defense Department's director of information assurance, said in a written statement, "The DoD currently is studying several aspects of software assurance. The DoD has a current software acquisition policy. The group studying software assurance is looking to supplement that policy with strengthened mechanisms to increase our confidence in the security of both foreign and domestic software products."

    Input, a Chantilly, Va.- based technology research firm, says federal government spending on IT products and services will grow 8.5% yearly from 2003 to 2008, from $45.4 billion to $68.2 billion. Approximately half of that spending will be in areas in which the government would like to see stronger information assurance.

    Incidents of back doors compromising sensitive national security information may never be known. That's not so in the private sector.

    "There have been a number of cases where software was found with intentionally planted back doors," said Shawn Hernan, team leader for vulnerability handling at the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University. "Most of these were for providing support, although no such support option was given to commercial customers. It's happened in both proprietary and open-sourced software."

    Hernan said discovering hidden malware is one of the most difficult tasks facing an assurance investigator. CERT doesn't track vulnerabilities by country of origin, he added.

    Software engineering processes are only now beginning to focus on providing traceability in security code. Traceability, which would allow a given line of code or a software module to be tracked back to the developer, is viewed as the Holy Grail in combating hidden malware. Traceability is also an effectiv
    • by jc42 (318812) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:28PM (#6933057) Homepage Journal
      "Most of these were for providing support, ..."

      Yeah; I usually do this. Any program more than a few dozen lines, and I start adding debugging hooks.

      They're never "hidden", though. I always document them. Of course, I can't force users to read the documentation.

      And I don't remove the debug hooks for a "release" version. When it's out at some customer's site and they call you asking what's wrong is when you REALLY need those hooks.

      It's really handy to be able to be able to tell a user "Just add the following line to the config file, wait a bit, and tell me what it says."

      I've worked on several projects where we added an HTTP interface, with the app listening on some port. All configurable, of course, but usually turned on by default. Then when a user called with a problem, if they are on the Net, we can ftp to that port, start typing GET commands, and learn about its state. This is a real back door, very easy to implement, and incredibly helpful when there are problems.

      Of course, you do want to document them, so that the user can't accuse you of sneaking something in on them. And make sure there's a simple way to turn them on and off. If the app has a config file, a line like "HTTP-Port: N" does the job, with N=0 to disable the back door.

      Then you can say "Well, I can't see what's wrong, because the HTTP port is turned off. Yes, I understand your security concerns. But I can't help you if your security won't let me talk to the program."

      Usually this isn't much of a problem, since new users rarely notice that stuff, and leave the back door enabled. When their security folks discover it, it's really handy to be able to point to the fact that it's all documented in the manual and the sample config file. Then they say "Oh, yeah." turn it off, and don't bug you.

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#6932404) Homepage Journal
    During the economic boom, and even before that, the US has always needed employees. The high job to population ratio meant less qualified people to fill up job vacancies. That's how the H1 visa program came into being, and was greatly appreciated during the 1990's boom.

    Unlike the US, India, being a developing nation, with a very large economy has always had a dirth of jobs. There are a few hundred people to fill up a single job vacancy. Thus, India has *never* felt the need for foreign employees.

    However, I know for a fact that a large number of Americans/Europeans (and even Russians in defense companies) regularly work on contract basis. I had a Russian neighbor long back, working in India on a 2 year contract with a defense company.

    So people, before you start flaming, ponder over the fact that a law for hiring outside employees doesn't exist because there hasn't ever been a need for it. Now with the outsourcing, it may not be too long before the government comes up with an H-1 like plan.

    /end rant.

  • by NineNine (235196) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#6932417)
    OK, I had accepted the fact that H1B's killed the IT job market for Americans. Competition and all that. That's just fine. Shit happens. But if Americans can't work in India, then let's kick the damn H1B's out of this country. I had NO IDEA that Americans couldn't get an Indian job. If that really is true (although no real good source was cited), I say fuck 'em and give 'em the boot until India wants to open up it's doors to American workers.
    • by xtal (49134) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:57PM (#6932556) Homepage
      the level of difficulty one has immigrating to the USA, even on the H1 visa program.
      • by MagPulse (316) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:11PM (#6932789)
        It might be really hard. Getting a PhD is really hard, starting a successful business is really hard, but people do those every day. Right now someone on a foriegn visa is impacting my ability to get a job, because while it is very hard, they are I dare say even more motivated than I am. They're fighting to live, I'm fighting for a middle class life instead of a lower class one.
    • by silentbozo (542534) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:59PM (#6932596) Journal
      Get used to it. US workers cannot get jobs in Canada, Europe, Australia, etc. without first applying, and getting necessary work visas. To get a work visa, you must have an employer who has applied to get you in, and has demonstrated that there isn't local talent who could do the job you're being hired for.

      Funny enough, that's pretty much the situation here (except for the illegal immigrants that is.) If you really want to work overseas, start applying for foreign citizenship/work permits.
  • This can't be true (Score:4, Insightful)

    by etymxris (121288) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:50PM (#6932434)
    Our company is getting ready to send someone over to India to head up some outsourcing. He's British, but that should not be any significant difference. I haven't heard of any barrier for foreigners working in India. Anyone care to cite some relevant Indian law, rather than a few words at the tail end of an article?
    • It isn't true. (Score:5, Informative)

      by pubjames (468013) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:14PM (#6932842)

      You can get a working visa for India. I have a friend that works there. It's just like anywhere else in the world in that respect.

      I expect this guy just got a tourist visa and turned up in India expecting to get employed, and the person told him he couldn't legally employ him, which would be true because he had the wrong type of visa.

      Is there anywhere in the world where you can just turn up without a working visa and legally work? Not that I know.

      I wish the Slashdot editors would just spend five minutes googling to check the validity of this type of thing before posting.
  • by kahei (466208) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:54PM (#6932491) Homepage

    I have to inject dull ol' reality into another 'The Indians Are Coming!' flap, but why exactly is it surprising that he can go to India on holiday and can't work there? Does he have a work visa for India? Are Indians allowed to work in the US with no visa?

    I always figured the general pattern was that to work in country A, you need to be a citizen of country A or have a work permit issued by country A. Did this suddenly stop applying in the case of Americans wanting to work in India?

    Other than that, well, it's a competitive marketplace. If other people are selling the same skills -- or what are percieved as the same skills -- cheaper, then he's got to change something.

    Incidentally, I've known some terrible experiences with outsourcing to cheap countries and I think it's generally a false economy. But on the other hand, I think I'd rather have a disoriented and inexperienced Indian working for me than listen to this guy's whining.

  • TPS Report? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mkldev (219128) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:55PM (#6932522) Homepage
    Something I found amusing from the article:

    However, the SEI is introducing Team Process Software (TPS), which brings traceability of specific code modules to individual programmers, said Humphrey, a former IBM software engineering executive. Indian software companies and a few U.S. developers, notably Microsoft Corp., are aggressively implementing TPS.

    To which my immediate reply was, "Did you remember to include the right cover on your TPS report?" :-)

  • by gothrus (706341) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @12:59PM (#6932585)
    Here is a prime example of one of the main problems of free trade. Corporations are free to trade jobs off to some developing nation where wages are minimal but people are not allowed to move to where the jobs are. Perhaps someday we will negotiate trade agreements which guarantee a fair living standard for workers reguardless of where they live.
  • Indian embassy (Score:3, Informative)

    by ramzak2k (596734) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:03PM (#6932659)
    May i recommed that you contact the nearest indian embassy and find out about the Employment Visa [indiagov.org] as found on the indian government webpage.

    I am sure there is a provision. While living in india i have seen many foreigners, mostly russian working in the nuclear facilities at BARC. It shouldnt be more difficult than it is to receive work permit in the US.
    • Re:would like to add (Score:3, Informative)

      by ramzak2k (596734)
      from that website :
      These are the requirements for an Employment Visa

      EMPLOYMENT VISA: An appointment letter, contract letter, applicant's resume and proof that the organization is registered in India are required. Duration of visa would depend on the period of the contract.
  • by azav (469988) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:04PM (#6932674) Homepage Journal
    1) I used to work writing gambling software (ethically, I knew it was going to fold). There is a rather attractive woman who lives in Marin and is rather wealthy who owns/runs a set of gambling web sites. Her dev team is in India. She's young, beautiful and rich.

    2) I use Macromedia Director extensively on a mac. I have since 1987. I even worked on Director for about 4 years at Macromedia. Director MX for the mac was ported by a company in India. IT SUCKS ASS. A vast majority of "details" that make software great are gone. It is now just "usable" and annoying. I will saddly admit that the windoes version of Director MX is much more usable than the mac version. Whomever ported it, just doesn't get it. What really sucks is that this crappy ass port is what I have to use every day. Yeah. Woo. shoot me.

    3) I used to contract for McGraw Hill in Carlsbad. We took a major project that was about to fail, developed and released the 4 CD set on time and budget for McGraw-Hill. After I left, under financial pressure, one of my co workers told me that things were about to change. This biz guy from a software firm in India come in to talk to the biz guys at McGraw-Hill and states "my programmers can write 1000 lines of code in a hour and they are pennies on the dollar." WHAT MORON measures productivity in "lines of code per hour?" Obviously, the business guys who don't understand programming. Last I hard, a lot of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill's development moved offshore to India.

    Leaves alot to think about.

  • by Otter (3800) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:06PM (#6932699) Journal
    This writeup is a distortion of the article. For the most part it's about how this guy lost his job because of outsourcing, and how he's joined an anti-H1-B group. At the end there's a throwaway comment about how he tried to get a job in India and "someone" told him not to bother. It's not like there's extensive, or any, suport for the claim that it is impossible to work overseas in India.

    It's not like I'm shocked that there's now a heated debate about Indian labor law among the various IANAIndianLaborLs here -- that's why we're here, right? -- but you may want to wait for someone in possession of even a single real fact to come along before drawing a conclusion.

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:09PM (#6932766) Journal
    Look how bad the working conditions are there [infosys.com]!
  • by SilentSage (656382) * on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:10PM (#6932773)
    This situation did not come about until the institution of the H1-B and L-1 visa program. This program should be scrapped for the following reasons. 1.) Labor Shortage: The stated purpose of these programs was to fill a temporary shortage of american tech talent obviously this is no longer a shortage of American geeks to fill these jobs. 2.) Anti-Competitive: The way the H-1/L-1 visas are written the sponsored geek is can only be employed by the sponsoring corporation. If he/she is forbidden by law seek other employment employers do not have to compete for talented labor or worry about retention once these guys have been trained. This creates a type of indentured servitude and an artificially depreciated labor market. 3.) Lack Of Parity: There are no similar programs in the countries who are the major sources of imported labor. We should not open American labor markets while foriegn labor markets are protected. 4.) Tax Drain: The maximum time an H1/L1 visa holder can work in the US is 6 years. They have been assured by the Bush administration that they will still recieve Social Security benefits even though the current law says you must contribute for 10 years to be eligible.
  • by jpu8086 (682572) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:15PM (#6932852) Homepage
    Disclaimers: I was born in India. However, my family moved to USA since I was 14. I consider myself American.

    Fact #1: Americans (and others) can work in India
    Fact #2: Lots of Americans (and others) do work in India
    Fact #3: A Visitors visa is different from a Work visa (just like USA)
    Fact #4: If you travel on visitors visa, you cannot change it to work visa unless you leave the country first. Basically you cannot transfer visas without changing your port of entry (guess what? just like the good ol' USA)
    Fact #5: This guy traveled to India on a work visa and applied for a job
    Fact #6: Following fact #4, he got denied a visa.

    BTW, all these facts are responses to USA's visa policies. India has a repuation for treating citizen of outher countries the same way other countries treats it's citizens. For example, USA charges a fee for each applicant of a visa (may it be student, work or travel) to people from India. Guess what India does? They charge a fee to Americans who want a visa to India too. Nepal doesn't charge a fee for Indian citizens. So, India doesn't charge a fee to Nepalese citizens. So, that is it guys: tit-for-tat.

    However, moving tech jobs offshore is bad, and so are H1B visas in todays economy. They were good during the boom days when we couldn't hire enough people.
  • by waxdaddy (584478) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:38PM (#6933238)

    Who cares about the last part of the clip, everyone knows that it's a pain in the ass to get a job in another country, unless your an executive or you live in the EU. (My personal experience alone with this is endless.)

    The point is the first part. And I don't want to collectively diss the /. population, but if you guys would read BusinessWeek, The Economist, etc., in addition to all your damn computer magazines, then you'd be enlightened already about how the H1 visa problem is growing so fast in the States.

    There are countless stories at countless firms about people who've been forced to train their outsourced replacements. It is a really big problem in this country.

    I really don't give a f*ck if you want to outsource a job to India. But all that bullsh*t with Tata is a gross exploitation of a labor-law loophole. Generally, the law states that you can't lay someone off and replace that exact position within "X" amount of time (it varies by State, I believe, here in Illinois it's 1 year). So companies get around it by creating whole new departments and positions for companies like Tata to come in and rape your office space, replacing you with an H1-er.

    Start reading other magazines, and you guys might actually be motivated to care about this instead of giving supposedly righteous comments about how obvious it is that it's difficult to obtain work visas in other countries.

    Focus on the important stuff. Like the BEGINNING of the clip.

    "All techies should be forced to take at least 12 credits of business in college."

    -SD

  • by gupg (58086) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:39PM (#6933252) Homepage
    See this news story:
    http://money.cnn.com/2003/09/11/news/economy/visa_ impact/index.htm?cnn=yes [cnn.com]

    First few lines are:
    Visas vs. jobs
    While many U.S. tech workers hate the H-1B program, studies suggest its impact is limited.
    September 11, 2003: 12:14 PM EDT
    By Mark Gongloff, CNN/Money Staff Writer

    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A U.S. visa program that allows aliens to temporarily work in technology and other high-paying industries is often blamed for taking American jobs and pushing wages lower. But two recent studies suggest this program might not be as awful as some critics think.


    ......
  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:41PM (#6933285) Homepage Journal
    In the second half of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series, a new law is enacted, the Trade Reform Act. The law is really simple, it allows the president to pick a country with unfair trade laws and mirror them. They want to inspect every car that arrives at the dock? Sure, we'll do the same. They won't hire americans to work at their code shops? Ok, we'll do the same. This of couse triggers two wars in the series, but the core concept of the law was pretty solid.

    I am well aware of the economics of outsourcing to India, my previous employer spent at least 6 months being courted by a half dozen code shops in India. They were complete professionals and very flexible. The skillset was in place, the language skills were better than what we want to believe and the price advantage was good. *That* I can live with.

    What it is bothering me is this statement that it is illegal for an american to work in India. I mean, the only thing they had to do was say suuuure, come work for us, but you will get an indian salary commesurate with your skills and experience, we cannot pay you a US salary just because you are an american. That would be fair for everyone involved.

    Or somebody in the government should wake up and see all these american going out of work because their jobs are going overseas. This of course sounds horribly naive on my part, but what is going to happen with defense sensitive software development? Are we going to outsource it too?

    Some kind of trade reform act would be a great way to wake up India, China and Japan about the real meaning of trade. They can't expect to continue flooding us with cheap products and labor and then taking their profits and spending them elsewhere.
  • by 1337_h4x0r (643377) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:41PM (#6933286)

    Okay - so the point of H1B's is to provide workers for a growing economy when we can't train our own people fast enough, right? (No local talent).

    So when there IS an abundance of local talent (evidenced by the posting volume of /. posts) why aren't H1B's sent home? I have no problem with international workers being here, if they are filling a need that can't be filled locally.

    To give an example of the way I think the H1B system is getting worked, the last job I worked at was an Informix 4GL shop. If you don't know what this is, it's the most insanely brain-dead programming language ever made. No features, no objects, hell you can't even pass arrays to functions. So what does this company do? Hires chinese H1B's who don't really know anything, for pennies. These guys were working REALLY cheap (like $8/hr) and the company had no intention of hiring any Americans because they wouldn't work for $8/hr. They had some scam running where a few of the american employees did work that cheap "officially" but got kickbacks for supporting the H1B program. I came into this company from a merger, and left shortly thereafter.

    My current company is outsourcing to an Indian development firm who supposedly has 30 employees assigned to us. Our entire dev team here in the US is like 5 people, and we're doing the lion's share of the work!

    So my opinion of outsourced and H1B employees is rather low, although I'll be the first to admit that there are probably lots of great foreign computer folks out there too. I just haven't seen any :)

  • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:41PM (#6933289)
    Indians, my friends, aren't the ones we have to blame. We need to look closer to home.

    The philosophy of market fundamentalism--the mantra of Fox, Wired, Rush, Gilder, Friedman and every zealous conservative and libertarian pundit--is doing an excellent job of encouraging business to turn its back on US employees. We'll see much, much more job flight in the short term until the brakes are applied to this savage anti-social approach.

    Plainly this is what happens when you shatter the social contract and replace it with an ideology of dog-eat-dog. When times are good, it's nice to be able to bark, "Hands off my bone!" Not so nice, is it, when times are bad... Then, living under dog ideology isn't all it's cracked up to be, and you may come to see that millions and millions of your fellow Americans have been given the same raw deal.

    For America, reeling under the destructiveness of this philosophy, a reordering of priorities is necessary. Increasing shareholder wealth may be the highest goal of a company; but it should never be the highest goal of a nation.

    Above all, as you see jobs go to India, or elsewhere, and worry that it might be yours next, remember whose advice and guidance led you to this low hour. Remember also who made historically high profits from your labor in the 1990s, but now pleads the inability to continue your employment. And ask yourself if you can afford to subscribe to the politics of plutocrats who don't care if you and your family sink or swim.

  • by Stonent1 (594886) <stonent.stonent@pointclark@net> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:53PM (#6933515) Journal
    There are plenty of unemployed Americans in the computer industry right now. Lets give the jobs to them first. It's only fair.
  • by DaveJay (133437) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @01:55PM (#6933550)
    Any government that is more concerned about their citizen's well-being than about corporation's well-being will block non-citizens from working.

    Any government that is more concerned about corporation's well-being than about their citizen's well-being will allow companies to hire non-citizens to their heart's content.

    I think that's pretty cut and dried. I am certain someone will correct me shortly. ;)
  • by Scot Seese (137975) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @02:10PM (#6933820)
    My fiance' is presently working in the U.S. on an H1-B Visa. A quick refresher:

    H1-B visas are only granted to persons with the equivalent of a 4-year Bachellor's degree. Part of the application process involves going through a degree equivalency comparison by an accredited lawyer. My fiance' has a Masters' in Computer Science.

    H1-B visa holders have a minimum salary stipulation. I believe the last time I checked it was $35,000 US. My fiance is being paid the same salary as the person that held her position before her, which is substantially higher than minimum.

    The position she was hired for was unfilled for some time as the company could not find someone with her required database/programming/java skills locally (we reside in a small midwestern community of ~150,000 population including neighboring villages and suburbs.)

    The real culprit here is twofold:
    1. The L-1 Visa. The L-1 has *substantially* lower pay requirements. These are the job-stealing visas.

    2. Corporate greed and government inaction. CEO's just see their programming expense as a budget line item to be reduced, like finding a cheaper widget supplier. Government inaction is self-explanitory. They are closing the door too slowly.

    H1-B's are typically attracting highly educated Western Europeans to the U.S. for a number of reasons. Salaries that are 1.5 to 2x higher than back home (not 5-8x as compared to India), A significant other in the states (grin) or a sense of adventure and desire to try the U.S. for a while. I find it baffling that in the wake of the articles regarding Teller's passing that we're questioning the H1-B situation. Post WWII, alot of our brainpower came from Western Europe. Highly skilled, highly educated persons who desire to become U.S. citizens and melt into the pot are what strengthens the U.S.

    It.is.the.L-1.visa.that.is.killing.the.programmi ng .jobs.market.in.the.US.

    PERIOD.

  • What Crap ! (Score:4, Informative)

    by kettlehead (704978) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @02:12PM (#6933850)
    Please listen to an Honest Indians defence I cannot believe that C I O could publish such a stupid article !!!! IT IS NOT ILLEGAL FOR EXPATS TO WORK IN INDIA ! How do I know this , Well we set up a company makin watches in collaboration with a jap company. The jap company being the majority shareholder sends two japanese managers. All the japanese company had to do was get a WORK PERMIT, Which believe me is a piece of cake compared to the shit we go through to get a h1b or even a student visa. All major US companies and mnc's who set up base in India have a number of managers who are actually expats. In fact the CEO odf Coke India etc. etc are US citizens. In fact articles in indian business magazines have pointed out that there is a recent trend even among Indian companies to hire expat managers. And if u think that they hire only coats, That also is not true. Many Indian software comanies also hire techies although they have to be *highly specialized* However if some of u nice unemployed people want to shift to India, Think of what you are going 2 put urself through. A TechWorker in India with all the qualifications of Daniel Soong may have to work for as low as 200-300$. Believe me thats what my friends here earn! All of u who think that bannin the h1b is the answer may be sadly mistaken. Outsourcing may be a more serious problem than H1B and also realize that artificially creating hurdles rarely solves problems. The companies who are outsorcin 2 India are the ones that are doing this out of desperation alias economic recession. Note that america could not really prevent a lot of manfacturing activities 2 be shifted to bases like China, Malaysia. Banning the h1b also will not prevent the long term ousourcing phenomena.
  • by Tor (2685) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @02:33PM (#6934187) Homepage
    The title "No Americans Need Apply" is both incorrect w.r.t. working in India (or other countries) in general, and only serve to rile up the more, ahem, chauvinist elements among the (American) Slashdot readership.

    In order to work in India, you need a work permit. Not knowing exactly the procedure for obtaining a work permit in India, I can only speculate that one will normally be issued only for jobs/diciplines for which there is no qualified native applicants.

    That's the same way it works in the USA. In order for foreigners to get a work permit (a H1-B visa), the prospective employer must:
    • Advertise the position publicly for 60 days
    • Demonstrate that the candidate has unique skills pertaining to the job
    • Be unable to find qualified candidates that are either citizens or permanent residents.


    The H1-B visa is temporary (expires after 3 years, can be renewed for a grand total of 6 years). This is kind of unique - not many other countries have this restriction.

    Finally, a H1-B visa is tied to a particular employer (which some other countries do, but not all), so the holder cannot change jobs without going through this process again.

    Given these restrictions, only a small percentage of American companies (usually mid-size companies that otherwise have troubles finding qualified personel) are willing to sponsor H1-B visas for foreign workers.

    In a country of ~250 million people, an influx of 150-200 thousand legal (H1-B) immigrant workers per year is nothing - indeed, a much lower percentage than other western countries (including my native Norway).

    Of course, illegal immigration is much larger, and a different problem alltogether. Too bad some of the less intelligent elements of this society is unable to distinguish the (modest) number of legal immigrants from the (huge) number of illegal immigrants.

    The process of getting a permanent residency ("green card") -- remember, the H1-B is only temporary -- is even harder, and many more steps are involved (including INS, the department of labor, and a handful of other agencies -- all of which are understaffed and overwhelmed).
    I was personally on a H1-B visa for nearly the allowed 6 years -- it took me that long to apply for (and receive) a green card. I am in a field where there is still a lot of demand for labor, and I am from a country for which parts of the application/qualification process goes quicker than for most. (Yes, the processing time of one of the agencies involved in the serialized green card application process depends on where you are from).

    Re: Outsourcing to India in general, I can only say: Tough. The USA is getting what it asked for - a more globalized economy. If the US gets easier access to foreign markets, then foreign countries get easier access to the US market as well. Indian-produced goods and services (whether managed by US companies or not) can enter the US market more freely, just like US goods and services have already entered other markets more freely.

    The bad news for industrialized countries is that this will level the global playing field w.r.t. salaries, standards of living, etc. The good news for the developing word is the same. All the same, it means further concentration of power an money in the hands of large, multinational corporations, whether they be incorporated in the USA or elsewhere.
  • NAFTA Countries (Score:4, Informative)

    by FrankDrebin (238464) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @03:46PM (#6935241) Homepage

    Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a citizen of a NAFTA country may work in a professional occupation in another NAFTA country if the applicant meet certain requirements.

    American professionals may easily work in Canada [cic.gc.ca], for example, and vice versa [state.gov].
  • by bot (235273) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @04:04PM (#6935445)

    1. Before you start beating up on Indians, remember that it's American managers that do the outsourcing, and the ones that benefit the most.
    2. If the Tata company didn't hire him in US because he was American, he could (and should) take legal recourse.
    3. You can work in India as an American. Thousands of other Americans do, even in high tech jobs. You need to :
    a. Get a job in an Indian company. Like Intel [intel.com] :-)
    b. Apply for a 'business visa for employment at your local Indian embassy/consulate [indianembassy.org]
    And go.

    The economy sucks, but that doesn't mean you put the blame on other people who like you are trying to work for a living.
  • by meehawl (73285) <.meehawl.spam. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday September 11, 2003 @04:09PM (#6935514) Homepage Journal
    I read constantly about stories like this, and the older thread about about how a secret memo shows that IBM are planning to move huge quantities of their best jobs out of the US and into India over the next few years.

    The central issue for me that links these stories is not so much the relocation of manufacturing and productive jobs from the core of an empire to peripheral client states. This has happened before (Roman Empire, United Kingdom, and so on) and will happen again.

    No, for me the real issue is one of freedom of movement for labour versus freedom of movement for capital. Because of their many advantages, corporations are "gaming" the international political system to produce labour arbitrage. They have lobbied hard for their right to move capital between countries at will. What we have now is globalization that serves corporations, not globalization that serves people.

    This is the fundamental ideological underpinning of this discourse. Corporations and politicians have structured a political system that implicitly and irrevocably favours the movement of capital over labour. Why should this be so? Could it be different? These are questions that need to be addressed. Different political movements are examining them in different ways.

    Meanwhile, for ordinary people who, for the most part, have no greater or more fundamental asset to offer than their labour, their options are a lot more restricted. US companies send jobs south into Mexico with minimal regulation because of NAFTA, but Mexican people are not equally free to move their bodies north into the US. This unequal treatment creates the exploitative arbitrage that the corporations milk for profits.

    This also explains a fundamental difference between the USA, NAFTA, and the European Union project. I've noticed most Americans really don't "get" the EU because their expectations are constrained by NAFTA and the halting of the US expansion within North America.

    At its core the EU project is very simple, but very powerful. It holds out the promise of regional improvement by granting freedom of access to a unified market for both capital and labour. As it expands, relentlessly it seems, it allows poorer countries to join, once they restructure their political, legal, and social systems to bring them into some degree of harmony with the EU consensus. In return for this social transformation, all the citizens of member countries can enjoy free and unfettered movement throughout all other EU countries (admittedly and annoyingly, several EU countries impose different temporary restrictions on some new member country citizens). In essence it's very similar to the freedom of movement that US citizens enjoy throughout all 50 States.

    This is a powerful lure. For all the talk of "old Europe" and "new Europe", the former Soviet Bloc countries are not clamouring to create bilateral trade agreements with the US... they are fighting tooth and nail to join the EU, and so submit their trade relations with non-EU countries to the fiat of Brussels. This yearning for EU membership has produced and is producing massive social and political change across eastern Europe.

    However, it seems that the US project has stalled at its current borders. I don't see the US engaged in a determined effort to expand south, to create a distributed American citizenship that would be a beacon for social progress and political aspirations throughout the Americas and the world. Immigration isn't any sort of answer: it's tedious, socially disruptive, and over-regulated. Try opening the floodgates, as the EU has done for its member countries, and within a few decades the improvements in both old and new member States will be enormous and unprecedented.

    But that's a fantasy. People today in the poorer countries of Central America, so close to the US, nonetheless know explicitly that their relation to the US and the member States within can never be based on equality and access, but will instead be permanently structured as clientist an
    • by TheSync (5291) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @04:23PM (#6935751) Journal
      The temporary movement of labor is known better as Temporary Movement of Natural Persons [econotarian.org]. It turns out that the price differential for labor between developed and undeveloped countries tends to be much larger than the price differential for goods, thus is more important for a global marketplace than free trade of goods. TMNP allows for flexible labor movement without worrying about sovereignty issues (as permanent movement would).

      Studies show that by increasing developed economies' quotas on inward movements of both skilled and unskilled labour by just 3% of their labour forces, world welfare would rise by $156 billion - about 0.6% of world income.

      Further liberalization of labor movement could double world income and imply proportionately even larger gains for the developing countries.
  • Keep it in the US (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blate (532322) on Thursday September 11, 2003 @05:41PM (#6936705)
    I used to work at a major network hardware company. They had outsorced a large chunk of QA work to some contractors in India -- some script-writing, some regression tests, and other sundry tasks. Without necessarily making any broad generalizations about Indian contractors or foreign contracting in general, let me share my experiences and impressions with you, in the hopes that you won't make the same mistake that my company made.

    1. Time zone: I was on the East Coast (EST/EDT). I beleive that India was about 12 hours away from us, give or take. This meant that basically anything you asked them to do took at least 1 full working day, since by the time I got into work, they were in bed. You can just imagine the problems this caused when deadlines or other time-critical matters were involved.

    2. Language: Again, without making any broad generalizations... Their English sucked. It was nearly impossible to communicate with them on the phone and their written English was less than acceptible. Also, based on serveral very frustrating experiences with the whole group, I concluded that their comprehention of written English was equally poor. We finally found a guy there who could understand English well enough to explain things to the rest of the group, but even then, my confidence level was quite low.

    3. Work Ethic/Product: Both the group in question and several other Indians I've worked with since then have had some similar issues w/r/t how they worked and what they produced. Again, not to generalize... If you give them very clear, step-by-step instructions to perform a discrete task, they generally will perform the task quite thoroughly. However, if the procedure requires any deviation from the norm or any creativity or synthesis, you're better off doing it yourself, because they'll never figure it out.

    We also had problems getting them to listen to anyone other than management -- they basically ignored team lead's, including myself.

    In their defense, I understand that the education system in India teaches them to work this way; it has a large focus on rote memorization and obeyance of authority. That's great, and it seems to work for them. However, that's not how we work in the US, and folks who have gone to US (or European or Chinese) schools and worked with others of the similar ilk will get very frustrated trying to mesh with thinking processes that are polar opposites of their own. Furthermore, I find this thinking process thoroughly unproductive and pretty much useless in an Engineer.

    Now, I'm just waiting for someone to write back flaming me for being some kind of racist, so let me state once more that I am relating my personal experiences with certain Indians. I went to grad school with several amazingly talented Indians whom I would choose to work with in a heartbeat. I'm not trying to reinforce any sterotypes or discriminatory policies.

    What I am trying to say is caveat emptor. If a thing seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sure, you can get engineering labor abroad for 10 cents on the dollar. But in many cases, you get what you pay for.

    And finally, there are countless qualified engineers in AMERICA who need jobs. If a foreign individual or group has skills you can't find here, then fine, bring them here. But in the long run, you hurting yourself, your company, and your fellow Americans by trying to save a buck abroad. It ain't worth it.

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