There is no doubt that many H-1Bs are victims. How else could it be? It is Econ 101: A program whose central purpose is providing cheap foreign labor will oversubscribe, with work permission depending on luck of the draw, and with wait times for green cards heading toward infinity.
On the other hand, the film is sure to make many techies’ blood boil, as the film seems to show zero sympathy for the American victims of the program. And of course there are American victims. How else could it be? It is Econ 101: A program whose central purpose is providing cheap foreign labor will naturally undercut wages and (more importantly) reduce job opportunities for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Indeed, a Quartz article promoting the movie also seems oblivious to the pain and suffering that H-1B and EB-series green cards have brought to American workers. I’ve mentioned before “Ike,” an over-35 Bay Area resident with two Master’s degrees from a first-tier U.S. university, has excellent work experience, is very articulate and a team player, yet in the last two years has applied for more than 2,000 jobs; all he has to show for it is a couple of short-term (measured in weeks) contracts.
The Quartz article cites Stuart Anderson’s NFAP studies that claim magic entrepreneurial powers for the former H-1Bs. I and others have debunked such claims, so I won’t go into that here. But the fact that the article cites research of a man who has made his living for two decades writing pro-H-1B studies (Anderson) suggests that part of the funding for the film came from some entity with an agenda, say the immigration lawyers association.
The article does include links labeled “providing cheap labor” and “driving down wages.” I followed the two links and found that the first leads to my Web site! Well, thank you very much. 🙂 The second link, though, was to another Quartz article, which not only cited NFAP but also two professors who openly are funded by the industry.
After I panned the highly misleading 60 Minutes episode on H-1B recently, one reader said that at least the show mentioned that the American victims blame their employers and Congress, not the H-1B workers themselves. I replied that I have never understood why someone might suggest otherwise, i.e. suggest that criticism of H-1B is tantamount to xenophobia, as I have heard for instance from a former Computerworld editor and a staffer for then-Rep. Mike Honda. My response was the obvious: If you lose your job to cheap labor, or are passed over by employers who hire cheap labor instead of hiring you, you don’t care who the cheap worker is. You don’t care about the race or nationality of that worker; you simply care that Congress has set up programs to enable this, and employers are taking advantage of those programs. That point, however, does not seem to be recognized in this movie.
Starting this Friday at a theater near you.