Trump Administration Opts Out in OPT Case

Those of you who follow foreign tech workers issues closely will recall the lawsuit by the Immigration Reform Law Institute regarding Optional Practical Training. The OPT program, part of the F-1 foreign student visa, allows foreign students to work in the U.S. for a certain period of time after graduation, ostensibly to get practical internship experience before returning to help their home country rise out of poverty.

What it has become, though, is a holding pattern, a way for foreign students to work while waiting to secure a visa in the vastly oversubscribed H-1B program. In 2016, the Obama administration extended OPT to a 3-year period for STEM students. (Earlier the GW Bush administration has extended it from 1 year to 29 months.) As Professor Ron Hira has pointed out, the notion that a foreign student graduate needs a three-year internship is absurd.

It matters — a LOT. The adverse impact on U.S. citizens and permanent residents is major. I strongly support this lawsuit, and have (via this blog) urged the Trump administration to roll back OPT to its original 12-month duration, or eliminate it entirely (in concert with other reforms).

On the other hand, as I have pointed out repeatedly since 2015, there is one issue on which President Trump — notorious for his sudden policy shifts — has been 100% consistent: Support for international students in STEM. Though he has railed against the H-1B program, his target has been the “Infosyses,” the large, mainly Indian, rent-a-programmer firms that hire H-1Bs directly from abroad and then rent them to U.S. firms. Trump has consistently supported hiring of foreign students by the “Intels” (not just the big household name tech firms, but banks, startups etc.).

One can of course still hold out some hope that someone who understands the culpability of the Intels will somehow reach Trump’s ear. But the latest development confirms that there is little hope of this occurring. Administration lawyers handling the suit are trying to squirm out by claiming that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the complaint.

I’ve been warning H-1B critics for years that their buying into the false “Intels Good, Infosyses Bad” dichotomy would come back to haunt them. Here is a striking example.


67 thoughts on “Trump Administration Opts Out in OPT Case

  1. >> … someone who understands the culpability of the Intels …

    If things are happening right under that “someone’s” nose, *that* would be a literal slap on the face to all American workers.

    I could not have asked for a better combo than Miller-Sessions-Homan (OPT falls under ICE, if I am not mistaken) …… And *they* are complicit? They are no better than the cartel, IMO. In fact they are worse than the cartel — Atleast we know what cartel’s agenda is.


    • It falls under DHS, and I see no good reason (posted anywhere) why it should.
      The college authorizes student’s OPT and here’s where it goes uncontrolled: some schools ensure job is related to student’s major before authorizing OPT, and other schools authorize OPT activity and then students go find a job.


      • >>It is my understanding that hiring an OPT worker via H1B is exempt from H1B cap also

        Yes and No; OPTs get 2 shots at the lottery (for 3 years) – first for 20k visas and second for 65k visas. I know you mean the real ‘cap exempt’, but ‘devil is in the details’ always!


        • You are mistaken about the 36-month (12 months + Obama’s 24-month extension) OPT giving the new graduate two shots at an H-1B visa. Even Bush’s 17-month extension for OPT (which gave a total of 29 months) was crafted so as to allow three fiscal years to apply for H-1B sponsorship for those graduating in May. Obama’s 24-month extension gives seven additional months to work here on OPT (beyond the 17 months “W” gave them) and gives ALL OPT applicants 3 fiscal years to apply for H-1B status (not necessarily at the company for which he is working on an OPT) .


  2. Norm, until I started reading and interacting on your blog, I was a firm believer in IGIB. I now believe the Intels are actually worse than the Infosys’s, because the Intel’s hurt American workers in 2 ways, by employ guest workers directly and by employing guest worker through contracts with the Infosys’s.

    It would be nice to see the Intel’s demographics if companies like Intel, Facebook and Google were required to release all of their numbers, direct hire and contracted. I suspect we would that there is an invasion under way, but not by Russia or China.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s also a scam to see U.S. corporations prance and sing about “diversity”, but they won’t talk up the gender imbalance in H1-B and OPT. What’s the ratio, Norm, probably close to 20:1 male:female for the imported workers?


      • Correct Norm. If it wasn’t for H1B female, the US female ratio would be much worse. Corporations would fight to the death to keep exposing that secret. It would be really cool if a super statistician could figure out how to back those numbers out.

        The vast majority of H1B come from South Asia, where they practice arranged marriages. A college educated person is going to marry someone of like ilk. The collateral goes up significantly for a person on H1B working in the US. And when married the H1B who is working in the US will work very hard to get their spouse employed.

        I have seen this first hand, it doesn’t matter if the person is qualified, they have a very good chance to get the job and they will be protected.


        • I am viciously against H1B but we seem to be spreading a lot of misinformation here. Firstly, H1B spouses are allowed to work only after the H1B worker passes the second stage in the green card process. Secondly, this has been the case only for the last couple of years: prior to that H1B spouses were not legally allowed to work.


          • Are you saying an H1B’s spouse can’t apply for an H1B job and get an H1B sponsor? I know they can’t work on their visa used to come as spouse. In a long list of legal methods to avoid leaving, published by a law firm: if you’ve used up both 3-year H1s and therefore cannot work here for 1 year, have spouse apply for H1 jobs.


        • “where they practice arranged marriages” – could you elaborate on what you meant by this? I hope this was not some negative perception of an entire populace! And its true if it wasn’t for workers from south Asia your country would have only a handful of females in STEM, and even majority of of female workers in STEM are second generation Asian including Indian.


          • I studied STEM before it was an “in” thing. My 50 year college reunion is fast approaching. I am third/fourth generation AMERICAN. My granddaughter at the ripe old age of 12 wants to become an engineer like her dad, uncles, grandparents, great grand father. She is probably a 12th generation American on her grandfather’s side (I forget the actual count but the genealogy can be traced to the Jamestown colony in the early 1600s.

            I personally know individuals in what I refer to as “arranged” relationships. These are university faculty members educated – even from undergraduate years – in the US. I find bringing young women to be “introduced” for the required meeting for a fiance visa when the man cannot reenter his home country due to compulsory military service upon entry to be an arrangement.

            The women for whom the inability of parents to obtain a tourist visa or extension of stay while they are pregnant or have an infant/toddler is a crisis amazes me. If a woman and her husband cannot manage, they should have rethought having a child. As anyone who has parented a teenager or two can attest, an infant is much easier to parent and the teen is easier than a disabled adult child. What wimps!

            It is South Asian and other international workers that are in large part responsible for American women – and men – avoiding STEM fields. The blatant discrimination in the US of Americans by foreign born individuals from Asia and the Middle East has all but the most determined leaving the field or choosing not to enter it in the first place. It is unconscionable that an American worker of any ethnicity is discriminated against by foreign nationals or immigrants who have been granted the privilege of staying in the US. It is happening. This applies even more so the Blacks and Hispanics than Europeans as studies have shown.

            As I have said before women are “smarter” than men and have decided that many STEM fields have no future for them so they choose to go elsewhere.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Cathy, your argument about “blatant discrimination” is just false, are you trying to say that America is a banana republic because I would imagine “blatant discrimination” would be punishable by law. Perhaps you need to find why women in America are not entering STEM fields and in fact its the women of south asian descent that are trying to attract more women into STEM (girls who code founded by an Indian and She++ run by majority Asian/Indian are just two examples along with numerous Indian women role models in STEM). And in India, women are at least 35% of entire STEM workforce. Disparaging a group of workers and allowing such discriminatory arguments should not be allowed by a well-respected academic!


          • Ravi,

            I am replying to your comments to Cathy.

            First of all, I am a South Asian male (prove jarne ke liya Hindi mein ek sentence likhta hoon…not convinced? Kya be ghanchakkar, pehchana kya? Apun Patil Galli mein gilli danda khelta tha tere sath! Convinced?).

            I am married to a South Asian woman who is NOT in IT. We also have two American born daughters, and our older is showing tremendous interest in robotics, understood binary math, wrote some neat HTML code and wants to be like her dad.

            My wife is desperately trying to change all of that much to my chagrin. But I don’t blame her.

            We live in a community that is about ~50% Indian (wife likes to socialize, need a happy wife at home). ALL PEOPLE work in IT and all of them have dual incomes. These South Asian women will do ANYTHING to work in IT. South Asians gossip and not having an IT job is tremendously looked down upon. One thing the South Asian women cannot tolerate is a loss of social status. Watch a fantastic season 4 Black Mirror episode that basically shows a futuristic society where a person is constantly judged based on a social score on the scale of 1 to 5.

            IT is closed for Americans buddy. My wife works in the county in the controller’s office. She is the only South Asian there. The IT department is slowly taken over by South Asian women with a South Asian male as their supervisor. This is happening EVERYWHERE.

            How can an entire population be single mindedly skilled in IT? None of the South Asian friends of ours have a good grasp on English (you don’t too – sorry, you will be judged). Computer Sciences is more about ability to learn linguistic abstractions that it is about mindless parroting of multiplication tables. Native Americans are far better suited for the roles, but the South Asians have learnt how to cheat, manipulate and exaggerate well with WITCHes (don’t make me spell that out for you).

            It is sad. And the South Asians do not even understand that they are resembling a snake that eats its own tail (their kids will NEVER have the opportunities they had as immigrants from third world – as ironic as it sounds). However, we don’t think it will matter, because outside of a few notable exceptions, South Asian kids are mostly neglected, subjected to unhealthy Tiger Parenting techniques, and simply turn out to be very mediocre. Doesn’t matter – the little social circle status and getting invites to parties for gossiping is more important.

            I know the South Asian shenanigans well. It takes to be one to know one. And they are killing the most important sector of this century. I sincerely hope that a disruptive technology such as Blockchain or something in the IOT takes off that renders the whole TCP/IP stack and everything built on it irrelevant. The WITCHes should burn down to dust and we need to start over – with Americans first.

            Cathy is very perceptive. And I hope sincerely her granddaughter gets to pursue her passion.


          • Thanks for the interesting narrative. Unfortunately, I don’t have the insight into the South Asian communities that I do with the Chinese ones, but I do try to glean something here and there. Some of what you said above I have heard privately from Indian immigrants. Also, much of it is similar to the Chinese case, though I think the Chinese are more aggressive in finding ways to deal with the H-4 enforced idleness.

            Interested readers might find the book “Suburban Saheeb” from a few years ago to shed at least a bit of light on those communities, and of course the old movie, “Mississippi Masala.”


          • BTW, I don’t know much about “Girls who Code”. In any case, it is a training institute and several South Asian women are good at training (especially young kids). My own wife is. She used to have her own tutoring business and we served over 100 students.

            However, I do subscribe to several programming newsletters. There are stories of some complete outsiders getting in a bootcamp and walking away with a job offer in Silicon Valley.

            I have not seen a single South Asian success story.

            It is time to drink the bitter medicine here. Not saying that South Asians are better or worse than any other demographics. However, they are putting a massive pressure on the US labor market by sheer numbers combined in H1B, H4, L1s, L2s and OPTs. These categories easily add up to nearly HALF A MILLION NEW WORKERS EACH YEAR from South Asia alone. Forgive me indulgence on caps there; but it needs to be put like that just to show how serious this pressure is from a single area in the world.

            Another bitter pill. South Asia is unlivable and corrupt to the core. However, because the British left a functioning mass education system and a barely functioning legal system, tens of million of South Asians can enroll in run-of-the-mill institutions of higher learning and get some kind of technical degree. Because of the horrendous standard of living of South Asia and the far worsening wealth divide, literally EVERYONE wants to GET THE HELL OUT. Forgive my usage of caps again.

            Even the upper middle class wants t get out. No one wants to deal with a billion people, massive dirt, pollution of all kinds and an extreme hardship in any simple daily activities. I hear these days, even the maids and drivers have become too expensive.

            Should the Western world pay the price of massive corruption of Indian politicians and their complete inability to build any semblance of a functioning infrastructure?

            I think NOT.

            American people just haven’t realized the extent of the problem they are facing. The massive immigration that has happened in a quick 2 decades from South Asia is a tip of the iceberg. If things don’t change, you continue seeing a masssive demographics shift and a rapidly accelerating displacement of the Americans in IT.

            A side discussion, but American people innately sense their government has been screwing them over, and that’s the fundamental reason they simply will never give up their right to bear arms. In the end game, that’s the final arbitrator.

            I hope my comments are allowed as a public service by professor Matloff.

            Sense the force Luke. We are going too much to the dark side.


          • I’ve seen those stories about the bootcamps too,but “upon closer inspection” they turn out to be misleading in various ways. Yes, sometimes they get a lower-than-internship job as “Assistant Web Maintainer” or some such, but they are not taking the kinds of jobs most H-1Bs take.


          • South Asians are very big on social hierarchies. While most of the upper middle class India has moved on from the caste system, the newfound wealth South Asians have accumulated in the last 50 years in Western countries have allowed them to create new social hierarchies.

            In the US, the social hierarchy somewhat goes like this:
            US citizen > PR > H1B > Anyone else. Add in there dual income somewhere.

            South Asian culture is not egalitarian. It does not promote innovation. It promotes the mindless pursuit of a certain social status. South Asians strive to achieve that status over anything else.

            South Asians will make excellent clerks. But does a country of 320 million need them? The best and the brightest? I don’t think so. Look at South Asia’s track record at Nobel prizes and Olympics.


  4. Norm,

    John Miano did a great job of advocacy yesterday in DC Circuit Court. According to Law 360:

    DC Circ. Blasts ‘Charade’ In Dismissing Union F-1 Visa Row
    By Bryan Koenig

    Law360, Washington (February 20, 2018, 6:40 PM EST) — A D.C. Circuit judge repeatedly challenged a U.S. Department of Justice attorney Tuesday to explain why a technology union’s lawsuit contesting the expansion of a program that allows foreigners with F-1 student visas to work in the U.S. was too poorly pled to survive.

    The new regulation, which went into effect in May, allows certain foreigners with F-1 visas who have obtained degrees in science, technology engineering or math from U.S. schools to extend their initial 12-month OPT period by 24 months. The union said the new rule exceeded DHS authority.

    “I don’t know what more they were supposed to do,” Judge Edwards told DOJ attorney Scott G. Stewart…

    The statute underlying the visa program, the judge said, is limited to students. “This program clearly goes beyond students,” he said…

    On Tuesday, Stewart argued that the union cannot establish standing to sue based on the required showing of competition with visa recipients “in a plausible way.”

    Washtech has presented affidavits, Stewart said, from workers with far more than the entry-level experience of those on F-1 visas. Instead, those affidavits come from individuals with significant experience and multiple degrees, he said…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Michael. I had to edit your posting, as (a) it was too long and (b) likely went well beyond Fair US law. Unfortunately, I edited out John Miano’s excellent statements, but I wanted to comment on the DOJ’s claim that the older American workers don’t compete with the OPTs.

      The fact is that “entry level” people are typically doing the same work as the experienced people, working side by side with them, just for less pay. The employers are well aware of the latter point, and thus make sure to designate job openings as “entry level,” in order to avoid hiring the experienced people. The OPTs are almost all young, so the OPT program is enabling the avoiding of American workers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “older American workers don’t compete with the OPTs”

        Wow, to say nothing of the fact that, in a continually changing field, older workers sometimes have to start over. Self-train all you want, but this is a field you learn on the job.

        And then they claim that we don’t try hard enough to keep up with technology. How enraging.

        Liked by 1 person

    • As I have noted in other locations, the OPT program in particular has become a “government-sanctioned foreign hiring preference program.” No other industrialized nation has a program that harms experienced technical workers to the degree to which the U.S. OPT program harms older American technical professionals! This fact alone should be grounds for repeal of the controversial OPT program.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In grad school in the late 1970s there was a big push by “international” (i.e. foreign) students for eligibility to obtain student loans. My sense is that they have long since effectively won that “right” insofar as the Federal government serves as guarantors to the lending institution under the student loan program. Is that correct? Can someone bring me up to date on that? If so, doesn’t that make the US government an interested party in promoting the hiring of foreign students (preferentially over equally qualified Americans) insofar as there is far less chance that the loan will be repaid if the non-citizen loan beneficiary leaves the country?


    • I suppose you are correct about the U.S. government having a vested interest in keeping the foreign students here. But I can’t believe this is the main driver.

      By the way, this article has an interesting passage:

      Pradhan is now based in Chennai, working on the project team of a brand new liberal Arts University that’s to come up in the city. With his current earning capacity, Pradhan says it will take him at least 7 years to pay off his student loan he took for the Columbia course, despite the generous 50% scholarship money he got.

      So here is at least one person who left and is still paying off the loan (for whatever reason).


    • “far less chance that the loan will be repaid if the non-citizen loan beneficiary leaves the country”

      Perhaps the loan has a co-signer. According to one website, “a co-signer is required for most international student loan programs. The co-signer must be a US citizen or US permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As a woman CS, I didn’t leave the industry, I was pushed out. Most western women in tech will get passed over by any male or any “subservient” Asian woman. I personally witnessed the amount of crap an Asian female worker puts up with to keep her job. It included getting and giving daily shoulder massages to multiple male colleagues. I wouldn’t put up with it, so I was viciously attacked, and ultimately left the industry.

    The unfortunate part of the take over of tech by foreigners and men is that the country has missed out on a whole host of valuable innovation. I know in my case, I have been sitting on my hands for decades, watching easily solvable problems, which I know I can solve, remain unsolved.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. At the CSU Sacramento university, a lot of the Indian students would apply for OPT in their last year, and the ones who weren’t the best and brightest and probably would end up working for a body ship, they used their OPT to drive for Uber or work at a Gas Station. That’s the essential problem with the OPT, it’s just an Employment Authorization card which allows you to work ANYWHERE, it doesn’t have to do with what you studied, and DHS is quite relax on monitoring that. Most of those Indian students ended up getting sponsored for an h1b by a bodyshop and got shipped to work for AT&T.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are really really ignorant. As as student on OPT, I can guarantee that USCIS requires your OPT to be on something RELATED TO YOUR FIELD OF STUDY.

      Please don’t write comments when you don’t know what you are talking about


      • OPT students routinely work on gas stations and in liquor stores. What world do you live in?

        The USCIS has no time and resources to verify each one of the half million OPT students every year is working in their field of study. Choosing to believe this is absolutely naive.

        Best case, even if you were working in your chosen field, you could be paid peanuts. Is OPT even subject to federal minimum wage? I have read ads on craigslist that openly solicited OPT students to do database administration (and the likes) for $12 an hour.

        Next time you post, know who you are talking to and the context surrounding it. If someone had told me this back in 2001, I might have believed it, but since then, I have seen too much.


  8. Dr. Matloff, several new lawsuits against Google in the news.

    Most recently a Manager at Google claiming racial discrimination in hiring practices against White and Asian males? Youtube also sued for baring uploads from Prager U, a conservative online site.

    Any comments? The first seems right up your alley!


      • Dr. Matloff, correct. A hiring manager who worked for Youtube and Google claimed there were illegal hiring practices which excluded white and asian males. The recruiter worked there for 7 years but alleged he wad fired after he complained about thede practices. His Complaint supposedly had some very specific allegations.

        Title: Ex-Google recruiter: I was fired because I resisted “illegal” diversity efforts

        From the lawsuit:

        “In April of 2017, Google’s Technology Staffing Management team was instructed by Alogna to immediately cancel all Level 3 (0-5 years experience) software engineering interviews with every single applicant who was not either female, Black, or Hispanic and to purge entirely any applications by non-diverse employees from the hiring pipeline. Plaintiff refused to comply with this request.”

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I just read the new Google / YouTube lawsuit online. Perfect example of what’s wrong with corporate America.

    Several items stood out. Google created a College Recruiting team which was only allowed to hire “diverse” applicants (i.e. not white or Asian males). This recruiter also alleges age discrimination, claiming they were pressured not to hire anyone over 40. In one instance they pressured him to have an older applicant apply for a Level 5 position (where he would fail the test), versus a mid-level Level 4 position which he would pass.

    After the Claimant alerted numerous managers to their illegal hiring practices, management disguised their illegal strategies and directed recruiters to delete emails and racial tracking data. Google had 2 black engineers join interviews of black candidates, same for Hispanics and women. A black engineer raised the issue that he was only participating in the interviews of black candidates.

    He knew he was under a microscope, so I bet he has a ton of documentation.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. FWIW. A friend just sold her 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse in Pleasanton, in December. Open house 1 day, 17 offers. Fourteen were Indian, three were Chinese (one Chinese American family). Many over list.

    The scuttlebutt was so many IT workers were being outbid in Fremont and San Jose, workers are moving northward. Hacienda movies now offers several Indian movies every week. San Ramon has also seen a large influx of H1B visa workers for years who I don’t think show up on other data.

    I think we have reached a tipping point with our open borders and no planning. No new reservoirs, housing, energy plants, transportation, nothing. Very little.

    At 50 or 60 Million people, how does that effect the cost and quality if life in California?


    • Very interesting.

      After Peoplesoft was acquired by Oracle a few years ago, the South Asian population around Pleasanton skyrocketed. Oracle, you may recall, is a big user of H-1Bs, and was accused in a court case of underpaying Indians in particular (the accuser was a manager).

      San Ramon’s Daugherty Valley has had huge growth in recent years, with a very substantial portion being Indian. Odd that you mention reservoirs. The one directly across the street from my home was expanded some years ago, with much protest from the neighborhood, in order to supply water to the Daugherty Valley!


      • I thought you lived near Concord? Got tired of the college town?

        The highway 580 corridor will only get worse. BART will begin a study on a second tube and potential locations, but it will be many years late.

        Does it make you sad, angry, or sick, how our business and government leaders are selling away our great jobs (IT) and formerly middle class jobs (The Trades)? Not a few, whole sectors!

        Are we all supposed to go work for the government?


        • I am in Walnut Creek. If you look closely at that Jack in the Box picture, you’ll see it’s in that city. I’ve lived here for 30 years. We do miss Davis, a great place to live in many respects.

          The day I posted my “hamburger theory,” complete with the picture of Jack in the Box, I received an ad on my cell phone, saying “Tell people about your visit to Jack in the Box.” Well, I did. 🙂


        • working for the government does not mean that you will be able to get back into IT.

          I’ve been trying that since august 2017 and IT in the government seems to fall into two camps:

          1. The systems side seems to be a GS 7/9/11 type position.
          2. The software side seems to be a GS 13 or 14 type position.

          I’ve got 30 plus years and currently working as a janitor at the VA.
          The VA tells the public they are working to modernize their systems.
          I tell the VA that I have the skills to help with their modernization.

          They roll their eyes and say to themselves, why are you working as a janitor.

          So I start a new website called to find a way to get the word out what is happening in the real world.

          And I keep working as a janitor because it beats the five years of unemployment I endured from aug 2010 to feb 2016.

          And praying that I can find a way through the wall of bureaucracy that exists in the HR department.


    • There are mini satellite “South Asian townships” in many places in America.

      There are two predominant ones in the DC metro area where I live.

      Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Nashville, Seattle are relative newcomers. Someone in my family dropped $850K for a single family house with no basement and an hour away from workplace somewhere in the Seattle metro area.

      The Bay area is going from bad to worse to absurd.

      What makes the DC metro area worse is that literally everyone is sucking the government teat. Now, South Asians cannot be faulted alone for sponging off of the government (at all levels, federal, state and county). However, the fact remains that they have pretty much taken over IT functions practically everywhere. I can name some companies too. These South Asians work together in the same company, bring their spouses aboard and buy houses together too (buying houses next to each other in the bunches is extremely common – we know FIVE separate instances when it happened with the largest bunch size being FIVE).

      The average single family house in the outskirts of DC (about 40 miles away from the center of the city in both Maryland and Virginia) goes for above $800K now. I am now privy to salary information of a bunch of people, and the model is about $100-110K for one spouse (usually the male) and $70-80K for the second spouse (usually the female).

      A few of things to note here:

      1) These are extremely pedestrian salaries. Hardly the best and the brightest.

      2) The model works because both spouses work. Also, both MUST BE IN IT. There cannot be an exception to this rule.

      3) Most IT jobs are in ERP. Close followers are SQL server administrators and QA (whatever that means – that’s usually the the female job). These days, a few data related jobs are coming up, but none require actual programming. Mainly, those are “data reporting” jobs. Top skills are Oracle Discoverer and Crystal Reports (again, ERP tools).

      4) Most Indians strive to get a green card and citizenship so their spouses can work and they can immediately move in to those “all South Asia” neighborhoods. After the H4 EAD authorization, that pressure reduced and nowadays, H1B families have started venturing into buying houses. This has increased the Y2Y prices by about 10% in those pockets (I heard the new houses are going at $900K now – we bought a similar house at $530K 5 years ago).

      5) South Asians still stretch the buck. Our house costs less than 2X our combined gross annual salary (my partner works part time too). For most South Asians, that factor is well over 4X and in some cases, over 5X. Again, South Asians will spend the money on a house because it is very important for social status. They save everywhere else. They are perfectly ok missing finer things in life to get that house because it satisfies their most important need to have reached that social status.

      6) The South Asians who have even more money (citizens with security clearance and the combined gross income over $250K) have recently started taking cruises. I am going to watch and analyze that development. I think we might see a “cruise bubble” in near future. Again, following the typical South Asian mentality here. Going to a cruise is now a requirement for the higher social status.

      If someone wants to do a “real data analysis”, analyze the housing data in certain pockets. The data might be available online (city-data for example).

      I think I have given professor Matloff enough insights and the “in-the-know things” to brood over. Obviously, I want my name to be completely out of this, so I am not going to give my real name. However, I will be more than happy to communicate anonymously and share some real numbers. In a later post.


      • Very interesting, and largely similar to the Chinese case, both today and also way back in the early 90s when the dominant H-1B nationality was still Chinese from Taiwan.

        Buying houses in bunches is a new one to me, but I have observed other “bunched” behavior, e.g. in car buying (all buying the same make and model) and even giving birth (all going to the same hospital). This is a natural coping mechanism, very efficient.


      • RA,

        Thank you for sharing your interesting insights into the South Asian/Indian community. I have traveled throughout India and have worked with Indians in different jobs in my career but don’t have the depth of knowledge into the Indian culture.

        As an older (>40) American IT worker, I am now coming into the acceptance phase that my career in IT/Software is over. More marginalized than being actively pushed out but the same nonetheless. Also, the significantly lower wages (isn’t it supposed to go higher the more senior/experienced one becomes?) are not attractive anymore.

        I do have an idea for a business selling to these foreign workers on visas. This would be akin to selling the shovels & pickaxes during the Gold rush. Can you tell me what the top websites/social platforms the South Asian/Indian community hangs out at online – beside Facebook & LinkedIn?

        What gets me is that people and the media don’t talk about is that American workers that are affected by these foreign worker visas also include immigrants. Last year, I met an Indian-American engineer who had a hard time finding a (good paying) job. He said he was getting offers – for a manager job that paid around $60K. So he’s trying to get his own business venture going. He said he has family & friends in the same boat as he. So you’re right about the snake eating its own tail. I think that for an IT worker to survive getting older (>40), he/she has to make the transition into management. Being still an engineer at this age is being on thin ice – if that ice hasn’t already broken.

        I place the blame on corporations (American & Indian), politicians (local, state and the DC swamp), Big Ed (universities & colleges) and lobbyists. I’m familiar with TIE (The Indus Entrepreneur) – maybe you are too? I think they are a pretty powerful & influential organization but don’t know how much lobbying power they have in the US.

        I would say (and have said this here before) that these third world countries need to fix their problems in their homeland instead of looking at the US as the paradise to escape to – as you pointed out.

        Btw, you might get a kick out of this story:

        An executive (an Indian) for an IT staffing company; instead of going on a cruise to up his status, he takes it to the next level by buying a vacation home in the Caribbean. I think he’s also from the DC area.

        Caribbean Life Season 5 Episode – Soon-to-Be Empty Nesters Find Paradise on St. Maarten

        So while American IT workers are jobless, laid off, and struggling to make ends meet – this guy’s living the high life.


        • >> Last year, I met an Indian-American engineer who had a hard time finding a (good paying) job.

          The point still being that hyphenated individual can get back to his country of birth and do *something* there, given that (s)he took an American job to begin with when (s)he entered the job market in this country. Whereas, the American born does not have any “other” country to go “back” to should (s)he lose out in the job marketplace here.

          >> place the blame on corporations (American & Indian), politicians (local, state and the DC swamp), Big Ed (universities & colleges) and lobbyists

          aka “the cartel”; but you missed out a vital component – the immigration lawyers

          >> I’m familiar with TIE (The Indus Entrepreneur)

          These are the recent extension to the cartel – The ‘entrepreneur’ lobby (American and hyphenated ones) want more ‘indentured’ entrepreneurs – Read the “Entrepreneur parole” rule doled out by the O administration on their way out. These numbers are NOT counted anywhere in any visa bucket – They are given Direct “parole”.. Here’s the icing – They clog the greencard queues even further. Now, who will go to court against this? (foreign indentured entrepreneurs taking away jobs from American born entrepreneurs)


        • Interesting tidbits all around.

          1. Indians are relative newcomers. On a typical bell distribution, the middle 50%+ is still under 45 so by and large, most Indian workers are not A) directly affected by layoffs and B) haven’t encountered en masse the abject failure of their offspring. We have anecdotal evidences in our family and some extended friend circles where kids live in the parents basements and face frequent joblessness. This problem will exacerbate. As I said, they are like “a snake eating its own tail”. Smart Indians are AGAINST IMMIGRATION REFORM (in the sense it is portrayed in the media), although they might be scared to say it out loud.

          Having said this, our company recently laid off a bunch of Indian QA engineers in their late 40s. I have also heard from friends of friends of friends (a chain with length n) about layoffs. They are happening alright. In fact the house we bought 5 years ago was a short sale from another laid off Indian IT professional.

          Indians also make classical statistical bias errors. When they see a successful Indian doctor, they think *each Indian child has ventured into a successful medicine field*. Indians will exaggerate A LOT. If an Indian were ever to tell you his/her salary, know that it is inflated between 1.5X-2X (we know this, because we have cross verified salaries of about 5 people I reckon – they were so naive that they didn’t even know their salaries were either known to my spouse who works in county payroll or were just publicly available as per the government policy). Indians are not total bluffers like a skilled poker player though. So that range makes sense.

          2. Yes, I was going to mention vacation homes. It’s an utter waste of money as are all houses they buy on the outskirts of DC only to enjoy their 1.5 hour one way commute. But social status trumps everything. The person who has that house in the Caribbean is now a mini celebrity among the social circle and Indians will sell their own mother to achieve this important step in their lives.

          3. The number 1 website they frequent is trackitt as far as I know. Immigration is number 1 issue for all Indians who don’t have a green card yet. I do not think you can solicit directly. Unfortunately, I never was in the typical maligned IT path most Indian engineers take (I actually did my undergrad from a good school in the US and was in the embedded programming field and gradually migrated to AI – there are almost no Indian coworkers in my field) so I don’t know of any good places where you can advertise for your services.

          4. Indians might get a taste of their own medicine in a rather short time. Just today morning, there was a rather startling comment from a Uber executive from Ghana against WHITE MALES. “Diversity” is coming to the SV and Indians will get the short end of the stick there. When companies see all around, they see more Indians than whites now. Who knows? Maybe whites can claim to be a minority in tech as early as 2020.

          5. Indians cannot fix the country. In a weird way, Indians need the second amendment more than anything else. You have no idea of the extent of oppression (on all levels) that is common against marginalized people. Middle and upper middle class are spared from the worst of it, but they still don’t have any semblance of infrastructure to lead a good and decent life. India is a literal and figurative shithole. Indians of higher social status treat Indians of lower social status like absolute shit. It’s in their DNA. And more than anything else, that is a serious threat to the egalitarian American Republic, the jewel of this planet and the highest achievement of human civilization.


          • Writing as an Indian, I can second what you write about. The absolute rarity of egalitarian cultures in human history. The extreme tenuousness in which these societies exist and how easily they can unravel. Living in India with its caste history and extreme inequality, we just cannot even fathom how it is possible that such cultural egalitarianism can evolve in societies. It seems to be so opposite to human nature!!!!.


        • Transitioning into management is now super tough. There are many reasons.

          1) All companies universally have atrocious managers. In order for the companies to hire good managers, they need to be able to distinguish good from bad. When *bad* is ubiquitous and the norm, it becomes the standard template and more bad managers are hired.

          Managers in IT are exhibiting the worst qualities prevalent in typical politicians. Thus, competent people are shying away/unable to compete on the playing field set by the absolute worst people in management. You have to learn how to lie and exaggerate as a manager and very few people can put on a convincing act.

          2) Companies now have an agenda in the name of *diversity* now. A lot of middle management positions are now *reserved* for certain people. This is the norm in my own company (I won’t say which diversity segment is lucky in that regard). Without a step to break into the role, plenty of good engineers will languish as being engineers in the progression as follows:

          steps (1/2/3/4) > senior > lead > principal > architect > emeritus (yup, seen this one too).

          3) Agile and scrum is basically a powerplay where the manager gets to have all the fun and the drones get to do all the work and to top it off, they also have to plan how they will execute it themselves. As a hapless scrum master and a lead engineer (who is trying to break into management while pushing 40), I know all too well the real purpose of Agile. Well, as a consolation, my company is very lenient on older engineers with many 20+ year badges, and I probably just need under 10 years to pay off my house…so…

          4) The manager role is not even properly defined. In my 17 years in this field, I have been through a dozen+ managers with exactly one good manager (a native born white male, one of the best at that role who influenced me very deeply) not counting my undergraduate mentor. Goes back to point 1 again: There are bad managers galore. I have also had very confused managers who had no role in a typical scrum setup, where an engineering director headed a few scrum teams with each team being self sufficient and taking its marching orders from the product managers. The engineering managers in this setup were the people who the unit wanted to shield from layoffs.

          5) I had one horrible manager (a white male) who totally screwed up a relatively simple project wasting millions of dollars the company spent on his team of 15 people for 4 years or so (it was a simple project to put data in a big-data system and let the users retrieve it as per their requirements). He was laid off and guess what? He was rehired again as a manager somewhere else. This shows a major flaw in the system – no one knows how you performed previously as a manager and even after completely screwing up a job, no one will say something *really bad* about you in today’s politically correct world. So, having some years under your belt is enough to get another job as a manager.

          6) Well, heck, I had another manager who once wrote code that made /dev/null non-accessible to all users other than root. He was promoted to being a director. The reason is that the director up top is also utterly clueless, has no technical know-how, and somehow thought the guy was a genius. The first guy in the story is South Asian, the second is white. Both males.

          Peter principle and several other things are at play here. Once an incompetent person (a bad apple) is up top, they don’t like competent people so only other incompetents will be promoted creating *chain promotion*. We all know most of the humanity is incompetent, but IT used to be an exception and that’s why, extreme progress was achieved very quickly. However, this is now changing thanks to watering down of the whole field due to H1B and alike. Now, a majority of IT people are incompetent, so by laws of numbers, there will be a higher chance that an incompetent person is promoted. Once done, that creates a chain of other incompetent promotions.

          The good people are too busy working, and don’t pay attention to workplace dynamics and the powerplays involved. That’s their downfall. The qualities that make them succeed as engineers are the same qualities that destroy their chances at management.

          Is this how humanity always was? I think so. But I have always felt that the American republic was an exception. Its founding principles made it possible for really good, competent and extremely fair minded people to rise up to the top. That’s why America was able to defend freedom for pretty much the whole of the 20th century. It might be too depressing to think but we might be seeing the demise of the America I thought still existed.


  11. To RA

    Your comments reeks of desperation and a contempt towards your own people. All I pointed out was that indian women are at least taking initiatives in the STEM fields instead of single-minded obsession to be “instagram model”. And the very social hierarchy that you mentioned here “US citizen > PR > H1B > Anyone else” is the one you yourself seem to follow, you being US citizen and have made it and now wants to close the door on others like you (I left India because of people like you and later left America as well). As for south asian success stories, there are plenty (of men) Nutanix, Egnyte, Appdynamics etc. Personally I don’t care what anyone does with their lives (men and women) if that’s what they want to do and believe in. And as for indian single-mindedness to make money instead of pursuing creativity, its true for every nationality (that are at lower levels of human evolution) and barring a few white countries (western EU, North Am, Russia) no other country have a great “Nobel and Olympics status” (did you know most of olympic gold medalist have never been to school in their lives? and winning a olympic gold medal has nothing to do with IQ or creativity or even genetics rather a single-minded years of training and a rewarding ecosystem). When I worked in America, I was mostly hired by American managers and worked in diverse group of people myself, and Indians (just like all other asian cultures) tend to hire their own, you blaming them is preposterous as I’m sure you do the same. Also, there are many whites only, latino only, blacks only businesses and institutions in America as well!

    If poor Indians come to America legally wants to live a middle class life, you have a problem with that!


    • Good points, Ravi. But there remains an issue of U.S. citizens and permanent residents losing job opportunities due to the foreign influx. It would be helpful if you were to acknowledge that.


      • This chart demonstrates what is happening better than anything I have seen before and it is something that people like Ravi need to see.

        We simply have more population than we do jobs.
        This is because of free trade agreements sending jobs to other countries and because of the massive tidal wave of non-immigrant guest workers.

        This sets up a scenario where if a guest worker is hired, a citizen is displaced and that can be seen here.
        We should be asking ourselves if unemployment is so low, why do we have fewer people working now than we had in 2000?


    • “now wants to close the door on others like you”
      The basic flaw in this argument is all, or nothing.
      “If poor Indians come to America legally wants to live a middle class life, you have a problem with that!”
      I’ve yet to here where the line is. “poor Indians”, billion? India’s economic program seems to be sell off population. And I do mean sell, being as it’s living on remittances.


  12. I saw Laura Ingraham’s interview with Trump a couple of weeks ago and it confirms that Trump has weaseled out of his campaign promise to end the H1-B visa program as a source of cheap labor. It is a well known statement that he made during the debate in Miami.

    I think we American Tech workers need to stop venting and whining online so much and instead mobilize and protest in person.

    Print up signs that say “Stop H1-B” and “Stop F1-OPT”, go in groups of 20 or more to Trump rallies and stand FRONT & CENTER so he can see us. This way, he can directly see us, see that there are a lot of us, and we communicate our message directly to him.

    The election year has just started and there are countless Trump rallies around the country.

    Let’s form into groups around the city where each Trump rally is going to be and go in as a group and stand FRONT & CENTER


    • Trump is doing EXACTLY what he promised in his campaign (and since 2015, in fact): He has said consistently that he supports facilitating the immigration of foreign students studying at US schools. Sadly, almost all critics of the H-1B program agree with Trump on this; they just want a clampdown on the Indian outsourcing firms.


      • The cheap labor lovers had planned their defense against American Workers First a long time ago. It is, as you call, IGIB. In the event of an American Workers First movement rising, they deploy IGIB, let the Infosyses take some damage (not life-threatening damage though) for a while, claim that American Workers First measures were implemented, and then gradually go back to business as usual. American STEM worker displacement isn’t really a big issue for most politicians, so they are not inclined to address it beyond some window dressing measures around election time, because American STEM workers are currently not a powerful voting bloc for a multitude of reasons.

        Besides American workers, cheap labor policies also hurt the small number of foreign workers who are genuinely talented, and not just in terms of wages. The tech companies have successfully abused the EB-1C program to bring in large numbers of “managers”, causing a backlog for the “brightest and the best” EB-1A/B channels who are counted in the same underlying EB-1 category.


      • No, what Trump EXACTLY said during the campaign was this: “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to HIRE AMERICAN WORKERS FOR EVERY VISA and immigration program. No exceptions.” (caps are my emphasis)


        • Yes, he did say this. But he has said a LOT more, right from the very beginning. In Aug. 2015, his campaign released his platform on immigration, with statements like the one you’ve quoted here. But a couple of days later, he “clarified” his position, saying

          When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country…I want talented people to come into this country—to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers, etc.

          In other words, Staple a Green Card. He has made similar statements on various occasions since then.

          Note that Staple has been proposed in many forms. In its pure form, “staple a green card to the foreign students’ diplomas,” the question of giving Americans hiring priority doesn’t even arise.


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