Convergence on “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” As the Guiding Principle for Legislation

I have quite often mentioned what I call the “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” argument being made in discussions on the H-1B work visa. As most of you readers know, this refers to the viewpoint in which the (primarily Indian) “rent-a-programmer” firms such as Infosys are considered the main ones abusing the visa, while all the others, which I refer to as the Intels, are viewed as using the program responsibly.

Note that the “Intels” consist of any employer whose H-1Bs are hired primarily from the pool of  foreign-student graduates of U.S. universities, not just large, household-name firms like Intel. In my last post, for instance, I mentioned a small bank with branches in various Bay Area locations.

I have argued, and I believe have demonstrated well, that the Intels and Infosyses are equally culpable. The “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” (IGIB) argument made by the Intels has had the goal of distracting attention from their own misuse of H-1B. I have also explained many times that the IGIB argument is not only fallacious but also destructive, as it will lead to legislation that will make things WORSE, not better.

Unfortunately, even many critics of H-1B have succumbed to the IGIB story line promoted by the Intels. For instance, a recent blog post by Progressives for Immigration Reform takes this view. I wish they had done their homework on this issue.

Yesterday a colleague mentioned to me that my university would be hosting a talk by UC San Diego professor John Skrentny, concerning the issue of whether the claimed STEM labor shortage is real. I had not heard of him before, but the UCSD affiliation was a bit of a red flag, and sure enough, he too is an IGIB man. I would be surprised if his institute did not have funding from nearby Qualcomm, but there has been such a steady IGIB drumbeat in the press, especially the New York Times, that it is easy to fall into the IGIB trap innocently.

Sadly, Skrentny also buys into the notion that the IGIB argument is valid because the Intels tend to sponsor their H-1Bs for green cards, while the Infosyses do not. While it is true that there is such a difference between the two industry sectors, the fact is that the Intels’ green card sponsorship is actually an additional way to abuse the system. The wait for a green card is many years in duration, during which time the foreign worker is essentially immobile. The Intels love this, and they are arguably worse abusers than the Infosyses.

As Skrenty points out, both major parties support IGIB, and President Trump has supported it consistently for the last two years. As noted, the press is on board too, with the Restrictionist immigration-reform groups largely concurring.

So, if not for the wedge issue of unauthorized immigration getting in the way, we would have seen an IGIB bill pass long ago. Again, I’ve made my case that such legislation will make things worse, not better. If you disagree, please explain, in the reader comments section of this blog.

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16 thoughts on “Convergence on “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” As the Guiding Principle for Legislation

  1. Even as a military veteran I cant get a IT job in the Dallas Tx area for the past year that has thousands of jobs for my skillset. This shows they aren’t doing anything about ensuring jobs are going to American engineers.

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    • Yep, and the employers who are rejecting you are Intels, not Infosyses. The immigration reform groups, though, would probably say, “Well, let’s at least solve part of the problem,” but as I have explained so often, even that part of the problem would NOT be solved.

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    • Richard, FYI, federal requirement to advertise a job, if an employer has applied for a green card for a foreign worker _AND_ there is no requirement to interview, let alone hire, a qualified citizens. And the green card allocation backlog for these go out … 12 years.

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  2. We need to return to the original intent of the H-1B visa program that of importing guest workers for positions for which there are no US citizen or permanent residents available. Many of the guest workers are qualified only by virtue of their resume and not actual experience. All jobs must be posted, and applicants considered.

    By now readers of this blog should know that I believe it is critical for those we educate in the US return home to use their education to make a difference in their home country. Our tech leaders are like the neighborhood bullies who want everything. With the current migrant crisis, it is even more important to provide hope for a better future in the Third World. It is far more important for our scientists and engineers to solve problems impacting the lives of people worldwide rather than provide those of us in the US and other developed societies a new game for our computer or app for our smart phones.

    It is my belief that a person going to school in the US and working under OPT should not be able to get a US work visa until they have worked in their home country for at least as long as they spent in the US on education (F-1, M-1) and training (J-1) visa entries, A US education should not be an easy way to a US job.

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    • The purpose of OPT is for training before they return home. Implicit in that is that it is for benefit of “home”, which would require… returning home. Foreign students are top of the list for visa overstay.
      Much of the gaming of F1/OPT/H1B is to feed US universities big bucks from foreign students.
      – F1s restricted to working on campus unless university authorizes offcampus CPT/OPT, so they’ve some pretty cheap stranded labor.
      – As captive “university researchers”, universities pay them little, but bill out their hours for big bucks.
      – They fill the there’s_no_need Masters and PhD programs, big bucks for universities, and then another boon for universities when they’re stranded there post-graduation as adjunct professors/assistants, post-doc researchers, etc. $21 an hour, in the H1B database.

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    • >We need to return to the original intent of the H-1B visa program
      >that of importing guest workers for positions for which there are
      >no US citizen or permanent residents available.

      Never was. That was always a cover story, since the real reason would offend almost everybody.

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  3. Norm, why do you think a separate issue is wedge to IGIB legislation? All or nothing reconfiguration on immigration activity/policy?
    I’m watching bills proposed, via GovTrack/Twitter, and it’s all over the map. From Lofgren’s tilt-it-in-favor-of-Silicon Valley (IGIB), to McCain’s don’t-touch-a-single-immigration-thing.
    I did notice a month or so back, they did raise H2B numbers.

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    • Most people in both parties want to expand H-1B, at least for the Intels, but the Democrats have blocked it, saying they want a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, code talk for a bill that legalizes the illegals.

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      • I too have also read “comprehensive reform” as amnesty pass for illegal immigrants. I don’t know where this article gets their information, but his “lip service” infers skepticism also.
        “Though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have at least paid lip service to the need to crack down on illegal immigration, reducing legal immigration is more controversial, even among Republicans.”
        http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/12/trump-legal-immigration-cuts-240478?cmpid=sf
        I also don’t get where R public assume it is only Ds pushing for immigration status quo. McCain introduced a bill a month or so back that was precisely instructing maintain status quo in immigration configuration.

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        • I’m a republican and nobody likes illegal immigration more than republican employers, especially in construction and agriculture. Both the democrats and the republicans have stabbed American workers in the back.

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  4. Maybe it should be “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad for US Universities”.

    The H-1B guest worker program is costing US universities big time. Every time a company hires a worker with a foreign STEM degree then this is one less customer of a US university. The Infosyes are much more likely than the Intels to hire someone without a US STEM degree.

    Perhaps US universities are secretly promoting “the IGIB story line promoted by the Intels.” in order to safeguard their cash cow. IGIB legislation will be good for US universities; however, many international students will be hesitant in spending a lot of money obtaining a US STEM degree without a guarantee of a job unless Staple becomes law. I predict that IGIB and Staple legislation will pass.

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