A number of people have called my attention to the “McDonald’s hires H-1Bs” article in Breitbart. I certainly recommend it, though I would point out that it is actually a meandering article that covers all kinds of interesting facts and numbers beyond McD’s. There is a ton to learn from here. I do have a couple of comments.
First, the article uses the word outsourcing a lot, much more than it should. I can hardly blame the author, who is an excellent, very insightful journalist, because terminology has become awfully confusing these days in articles on H-1B and related issues, but it is important to keep things straight. So for instance, when the article says
But American companies are now trying to outsource more varieties of jobs, including accounting, healthcare and design jobs. For example, American universities have hired H-1Bs for 100,000 prestigious jobs, including professors, lecturers, doctors, therapists, scientists and researchers. Engineering giant Caterpillar continues to hire H-1B workers in Illinois as it fires hundreds of American engineers and other white-collar workers, DeLoitte and other U.S. accounting firms have asked for more than 20,000 H-1B visas to replace American business-school graduates.
that term “outsourcing” is incorrect. The universities, for instance, are directly hiring H-1Bs, not “renting” them from an outsourcing firm such as Infosys. They are not “renting” those professors. Mind you, I am not defending the universities at all. Most H-1B hiring, including by universities, represents abuses of the visa program, in both direct and indirect ways. But it is not outsourcing.
Similarly, Caterpillar is also not outsourcing, according to another excellent recent piece by the same author. They are directly hiring foreign workers who are studying as foreign students at U.S. universities. Again, that does NOT make it “better”; but it is important to be precise in this complex issue.
Though I am reluctant to object to another point in this otherwise-excellent article, I must comment on this passage:
In Ohio, roughly 1,200 foreign post-graduate students are working in prestigious white-collar jobs, via the ‘Optional Practical Training’ visa. Without that visa program, most of those jobs would have gone to new graduates born in Ohio.
The correct statement would have been “Without the visa program, most of those jobs would have gone to Americans, both new graduates and established professionals. Again, a key point about H-1B is that it is typically used to hire young foreign workers instead of older Americans. It is definitely true that young H-1Bs are also hired in lieu of young Americans, but that is far from the whole picture.
A final comment, not on the article: A number of people have asked me about the recently-released National Academic of Science report on immigration, specifically its findings on high-skilled immigration. I haven’t commented here in the blog yet, because frankly, I would need a dozen blog posts to comment in full. I had been expecting a biased report in the sense that it would have an “Intels good, Infosyses bad” theme, but it turned out to be far worse than that, extremely one-sided. It baffles me that such a prestigious instituation as NAS would produce such an awful report, the presence of some “usual suspects” on the committee notwithstanding. I may make a single post, focusing just on the innovation claims made by the report, at some point in the next few days.