H-1B: The voices behind the visa

By Tracy Mayor, Computerworld |  Career, Careers, h-1b

Consulting companies can hire and fire you with no obligation. They try to take advantage of this kind of employee, they promise something and don't deliver. In a lot of places they treat you as a second-class citizen. It's very easy for any citizen to put the blame on the contractor and fire them.

H-1Bs pay Medicare and Social Security taxes. Is it right for the government to collect that money? I don't mind paying the taxes that the government needs to run, but paying tax that I will not be entitled to, is that fair? I wouldn't mind paying toward citizenship. There should be a classification. They could ask, what is your future plan? Do you want to stay in this country? And based on that they could take the money.

America is the No. 1 country in the world. People who are in India are ready to do everything and anything to come into this country. If you go to another country, they say, "Oh, he worked in the United States." It is assumed you have very good skills.

Innovation will happen in other places, not in the United States, if we do not continue to get talent from the whole world. People come here for the great research facilities and the universities. They follow Bill Gates. If we lose them, we will lose a lot of talent.

America for me feels like a second birthplace. I feel I have a debt to this country. I perform social work. I volunteer. I add value to the society. If I go back to my country, the investment from me in the U.S. will be zero.

One time on a contract job, a guy said to me, "Why don't you go back to your country?" I said, "The day I cannot find a job or the government says 'We don't want you,' I will go."

Rob Sanchez: 'The first to go will be the expensive Americans.'

I went to the University of Texas at El Paso, received a B.S. in electrical engineering, and worked for eight years at [a global communications corporation] in Scottsdale, Ariz., until I was laid off in 1988. There were huge cuts in defense spending, and more than 50% of the engineers at the company lost their jobs.

Then I put in five years at [a medical circuit manufacturer] as a test engineer before I moved on to [a large government contractor], helping design test equipment, firmware and software for a GUI interface.

I was working late one Friday night when I overheard some young engineers two cubicles away say an H-1B was coming in on Monday. I knew I was a dead man walking. The workforce there was very young, mostly under 30, and high-tech companies tend to hire young and fire old.

Sure enough, I got the axe, and the H-1B got my job. The type of job I was doing was fairly unique, but there's no question they could have found another American.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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