Friday, March 24, 2017

H1B Visa Abuse: What Do Software Engineers Earn in India and Pakistan?

A segment of CBS 60 Minutes, top rated American newsmagazine on television, has recently brought sharp focus on H1B visa abuse. It alleges that the H1B visas are being misused by Indian body shops to bring low-cost Indian software engineers to the United States to replace higher-paid American workers.

H1B Visa Abuse:

The visa category was originally intended to help fill gaps in the high-tech workforce with highly skilled employees from abroad in situations where there aren’t enough Americans. Instead, it has given rise to body shops that bring in workers from overseas, mainly from India, to replace higher-paid American workers.

Recent examples of the firing of American IT workers and their replacement by Indian workers at UC San Francisco and Walt Disney and Co have received a lot of media attention. What has particularly incensed the American public is the practice of forcing the American workers to train their replacements.

Labor Cost Savings:

A loophole in H-1B legislation that US companies are taking advantage of allows them to outsource jobs to Indian body shops without even looking for Americans, if those jobs pay approximately $60,000 or higher. Similar jobs in Silicon Valley pay an average of $110,000 a year.

The average salary of a software engineer ($110,000) in Silicon Valley is about 20X more than the average salaries in India ($6,875) and Pakistan ($4,770), according to Glassdoor.

Source: Glassdoor


Indians Gaming H1-B System:

Indian body shops are masters of gaming the H1-B system.  Most of India's IT exports to the United States are made up of wages of H1B workers brought to the United States by a handful of Indian body shops like Cognizant, Tata Consulting Services (TCS) and Infosys.  In 2014, 86% of the H1B visas for tech workers were granted to Indians, according to available data.

Excluding the Indian H1B workers' pay,  India's IT exports drop to about one-twentieth of the the amount reported by the Indian government as IT exports, according to a 2005 study by US General Accounting Office (GAO).

The Indian body shops like Cognizant, TCS and Infosys that rely on the H1B visa program in the US are "the shining star" of the Indian economy, and the country's largest export, according to an Indian-American professor Ron Hira who is a strong critic of the abuses of H1B program. By complaining, the Indian government and firms that rely on the program are trying to "build up a firewall so that no other reforms can come through and constrain the program in any way."

Average Salaries of Software Engineers in Major Cities Source: qz.com


Indian Code Coolies:

H1B workers brought in by Indian body shops are described variously as "code coolies" or "H1B slaves". Some call them "indentured servants", like the ones from India who replaced slave labor after the British empire abolished slavery.

“’Indentured servants’ is a pretty accurate term because in many cases that’s exactly what’s going on,” said Phillip Griego of San Jose’s Phillip J. Griego and Associates. Over the years, Griego and his law partner, Robert Nuddleman have represented several H-1B workers in lawsuits against body shops.

Trump's Pledge:

Along with cracking down on illegal immigration, a key campaign promise of President Trump has been to create lots of American jobs for American workers.  “You’ve heard me say the words, and I’ll repeat them, right now: Buy American and Hire American. It’s not just a motto, it’s a pledge. It’s a pledge to the working people of this country. The era of economic surrender for the United States is over -- it's over,” Trump said at Michigan earlier this week.

Right after the CBS 60 Minutes segment on H1-B visa, Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted: "If u just saw CBS 60minutes abt ripoff H1B visa program is replacing AmWorkers u shld know my/Durbin bill will correct this injustice."

There are reports that new legislation is being offered to change the H1-B program. Among the key provisions of this new proposed legislation are cutting the number of visa by 50% and doubling the minimum salary of H1B workers from $60,000 to $120,000.

Summary:

The abuse of H1B visas to replace American workers and depress wages is drawing both legislative and executive attention under the Trump administration. High profile cases like the firing of American workers at UC San Francisco and Disney and their replacement by Indian workers has energized the support for cracking down on abuse.


Pakistan's Software Prodigy

Biotech and Genomics in Pakistan

11 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Software engineers' salaries

Source: Glassdoor

https://www.glassdoor.com.au/Salaries/index.htm


Pakistan Avg Rs 500,0000 ( US$4,770) Min Rs 240 K ($2,290) Max $1.08 million ($10,302)

India Avg Rs. 450,000 ($6,875) Min Rs 327,000 ($4,125) Max Rs. 519,000 ($7,930)

China Avg RMB 150,000 ($21,760) Min 80,000 ($11,605) Max 246,000 ($35,687)

USA $95,105 Min $67,000 Max $132,000

UK British Pounds 37,469 ($46,786) Min 26,000 ($32,465) Max 61,000 ($76,168)

Canada C$72,000 ($53,853) Min C$51,000 ($38,146) Max C$95,000 ($71,057)

Germany Euro 54,000 ($58,144) Min 42,000 ($45,223) Max 70,000 ($75,372)

France Euro 42,000 ($45,223) Min 34,000 ($36,610) Max 55,000 ($59,221)

Australia A$83,968 ($63,963) Min 62,000 ($47,229) Max 116,000 ($88,384)

Israel Shekel 240,000 ($65,717) Min 126,000 ($34,501) Max 319,000 ($87,350)

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian Owner of #SiliconValley Valley staffing firm charged in #h1b visa fraud - SFGate

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Owner-of-Silicon-Valley-staffing-firm-charged-in-11026913.php

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The owner of a company that supplied foreign workers to San Francisco Bay Area technology companies is facing visa fraud charges after filing fake documents to bring people to the United States, the U.S Attorney's Office announced Friday.
A federal grand jury indicted Jayavel Murugan, CEO of Dynasoft Synergy, Inc., and a second man, Syed Nawaz, on Thursday on charges including conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

The men obtained H-1B visas for more than a dozen people by claiming the workers had jobs at Stanford University, Cisco Systems and Brocade Communications Systems, according to the indictment. No such jobs existed, but Dynasoft could use the fraudulently obtained H1B visas to get the workers to the U.S., where it could place them with other companies and profit, prosecutors said.

Bala Murali, Dynasoft's chief operating officer, said Nawaz was not available.
Murugan said he did not know about the indictment and was "shocked." He said he needed to consult with his attorney and did not immediately have additional comment.

Riaz Haq said...

US Rep Issa says #India benefits disproportionately from #H1B visas, Wants min #H1B worker salary raised to $100,000

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-disproportionately-benefits-from-h-1b-scheme/article17688961.ece

Indian companies and workers are disproportionately gaining from the current method of allocation of H-1B visas and this is a distortion of the programme, said a U.S lawmaker at the forefront of an ongoing campaign against alleged abuse of the visa programme.

The current system of selecting H-1B visa recipients is neither fair nor efficient, and it must be replaced, said Congressman Darrell Issa, who has recently introduced a Bill that proposes to raise the minimum salary of H-1B employees to $1,00,000 per year from the current level of $60,000.

Speaking at an event organised by the Atlantic Council on Monday, the California Republican was not sure if his Bill will be passed by the legislature, but said: “The President supports the Bill and we will have strong support in the Senate.”

A distortion


“We can’t have 75% of a programme going to Indian-owned, Indian-operated companies and Indian employees and not say that this is a distortion. At the end of these reforms, will this programme still disproportionately favour countries that are willing to let go of their high-skilled workers and come here? Yes. Will it be as extreme as it is now? No,” the lawmaker said.

The Congressman had proposed to expand the number of visas in a Bill in 2013, but he said that proposal is not desirable now. “We were then saying that we are pushing to get the best and the brightest to the country. We had a lot of good people going away even after graduating from U.S. universities, including the medical doctors,” he said adding that due to the abuse of the programme, American people have lost confidence in it.

Riaz Haq said...

H1-B Visa Applications Pour In by Truckload Before Door Slams Shut

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/us/tech-visa-applications-h1b.html?_r=1


In 2014, the last year for which information is available, just 13 outsourcing firms accounted for a third of all granted visas. The top recipients were Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro, all based in India.

The companies, which subcontract their employees to banks, retailers and other businesses in the United States to do programming, accounting and other work, often inundate the immigration service with tens of thousands of applications.

BitTitan, a growing company that hopes to hire 60 engineers in the next 12 months, is submitting six applications. “We are trying to fill specific positions around cloud and artificial intelligence,” the chief executive, Geeman Yip, said. “If we can’t fill them, our innovation suffers.”


Several bipartisan bills in the Senate and the House seek to make companies give more priority to American workers before they fill jobs with H-1B visas. They also seek to raise the minimum pay for the jobs, which depend on skill level and location: A computer systems analyst in Pittsburgh, for example, must make at least $49,000 under current regulations. The theory is that higher pay will eliminate some of the rationale for importing workers.

A draft of a presidential executive order on “protecting American jobs and workers by strengthening the integrity of foreign worker visa programs” was distributed widely in late January but never signed. Then, without warning, Citizenship and Immigration Services published a memo on its website over the weekend that could affect many applications.

Specifically, companies seeking to import computer programmers at the lowest pay levels will have to prove that the work they perform qualifies as “specialty” labor, which is what the H-1B visas were created for. “There will be greater scrutiny of the role the company wants to fill,” said Lynden Melmed, a lawyer in Washington and a former chief counsel for the immigration service.

The measure appears to be directed mainly at outsourcing firms, rather than the big technology companies, which tend to hire workers at higher skill and pay levels.

In a statement, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, the main trade group for India’s outsourcing industry, said, “The H-1B visa system exists specifically because the U.S. has a persistent shortage of high-skilled I.T. talent.”

The group said that its members followed all the program’s rules, and that the change would have little impact. “It is aimed at screening out less-qualified workers, whereas our members tend to provide well-credentialed workers to help U.S. companies fill their skills gaps and compete globally,” it said.

Even before the memo and the Justice Department’s warning, fears about the future of the H-1B program were making this year more pressure-packed than most. “Just to make sure the petitions get in, almost every client demanded that theirs arrive on the first day,” said Greg McCall, a lawyer at Perkins Coie in Seattle who prepared 150 applications.

Inside the federal building, a formidable structure that has provided backdrops for movies including “Coma” and “Outbreak,” the logistical dance unfolded over two floors. In the mailroom, about 40 people wearing blue gloves sat around tables opening packages that arrived nonstop in six-foot-high bins. In a huge warehouse, those same packages were separated according to whether the applicants had bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

All told, 1,500 workers were involved, with a second shift expected to stretch past normal business hours.

“This is the day we prepare for months and months in advance,” said Donna P. Campagnolo, the center’s deputy director.

Trucks came and went all day, with some couriers, including from FedEx, staggering their deliveries to avoid having dozens of trucks backed up at the gate.

Riaz Haq said...

With its bad #engineers and horrible #internet, #India is far from becoming the next #SiliconValley https://qz.com/950473 via @qzindia
...However, surprisingly, India fared poorly, ranking 26 out of the 28 major global tech hubs evaluated in HackerRank’s April 06 report (paywall).
The coding recruitment platform rated each country on nine factors: corruption perception, english-language proficiency, competition for talent from other tech companies, average salary, rent, taxes, internet speed, STEM grads, and skill. Overall, Singapore topped the list because it had “the lowest taxes, fastest internet & exceptional talent.” Last year, the Singaporean government committed $19 billion towards R&D and the local engineering ecosystem, while Google expanded its office in the city-state to 1,000 engineers.
India’s weaknesses

While India ranked fourth for its supply of cost-efficient engineering talent, it ranked 19th on skill sets as the quality of its talent is questionable. Besides, it isn’t going to stay cheap forever. “The developer cost, the executive cost, was supposed to be at least 50% (compared to Silicon Valley). Now it’s like 75%. And it’s not going down, it’s only going up,” says Ravisankar. India is also at the bottom on corruption and taxes. Moreover, the time difference with the US doesn’t

make life any easier.
Most importantly, India is the worst when it comes to the internet.
An Economist Intelligence Unit study of internet inclusiveness ranked India first among 75 countries on policies to ensure connectivity. However, network availability and quality in the country were deeply flawed. A 3Q 2016 Akamai report says India’s 4.1 megabits per second (Mbps) average internet speed is Asia’s slowest. Frequent power cuts in pockets of the country and a sizeable chunk of the population—240 million—lacking power supply, only add to the chaos.
Where to go

As the Trump administration clamps down on immigrant workers, companies in the Valley—the biggest tech behemoths and up to 19,000 startups—will probably seek innovation hubs outside the US. Even otherwise, the region is approaching saturation.
HackerRank designed an interactive tool that lists the top countries for users based on parameters that matter to them. “Large companies like Google or Facebook might care less about cost than a startup. Smaller, more agile companies may prioritize cost-effectiveness and skill level to hire developers who can start coding on day-one,” the report states. “If you’re anticipating overseas collaboration, then low corruption levels and language barriers could take priority.” For instance, despite its shortcomings, a company that values cost savings above all might find India favourable due to the low rents and cheap labour costs here.

The following are HackerRank’s top five countries for collaboration, cost, and talent, and their rankings in the sub-categories used to determine them.
COLLABORATION Internet English Corruption
1. Singapore 1 8 5
2. Canada 12 1 6
3. UK 10 1 9
4. New Zealand 17 1 3
5. Ireland 13 1 10
COST Salary Taxes Rent
1. Egypt 1 14 1
2. Bulgaria 8 5 4
3. The Philippines 2 13 8
4. India 4 23 3
5. Hungary 7 15 5
TALENT STEM Grads Skill Competition
1. China 1 1 20
2. Taiwan 3 5 5
3. Russia 9 2 14
4. Poland 8 3 11
5. Hungary 25 4 12



While these locations show promise, Silicon Valley remains a class apart. “I think Silicon Valley is still one of the best places to start a company because of infrastructure, for things like Y-Combinator, and other investors,” says Ravisankar. “People there have solved the social network problem. People have built YouTube, people have built Paypal, people have built Square.”

Riaz Haq said...

Trump Puts India First
By Tim Culpan

https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-04-12/trump-puts-indians-first-by-clamping-down-on-it-visas

"Putting American Workers First," reads the bold headline on the home page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, proclaiming: "New Measures to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse."A click through to the April 3 statement outlines steps the agency will take to clamp down on the use of temporary visas for foreign workers in specialty occupations. Among the areas of focus: "Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location."Indian technology companies are in the cross hairs. Outsourcing providers such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. are contracted by U.S. firms and government agencies to deploy programmers and engineers. This usually happens at the client's premises instead of their own offices: that is, "offsite."

Indian nationals are so dominant in the H-1B program that they accounted for 195,247, or 70.1 percent, of all beneficiaries in 2015. PROPORTION OF H-1B VISAS THAT GO TO INDIANS70.1%Whatever the impact on these outsourcing companies, the crackdown is already hurting the net worth of their billionaire founders as investors anticipate tightened enforcement will hurt earnings, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. Tata Consultancy has lost about 3 percent since the U.S. administration announced on March 3 it would suspend premium processing of H-1B visas, lagging a 2.8 percent advance in the benchmark Sensex index.

Riaz Haq said...

What software engineers are making around the world right now

https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/09/what-software-engineers-are-making-around-the-world-right-now/

https://hired.com/state-of-salaries-2017
A new study published by the data science team at Hired, a jobs marketplace for tech workers, shows why it’s becoming harder for software engineers to afford life in San Francisco, even while they make more money than their peers elsewhere in the U.S. and the world.

Based on 280,000 interview requests and job offers provided by more than 5,000 companies to 45,000 job seekers on Hired’s platform, the company’s data team has determined that the average salary for a software engineer in the Bay Area is $134,000. That’s more than software engineers anywhere in the country, through Seattle trails closely behind, paying engineers an average of $126,000. In other tech hubs, including Boston, Austin, L.A., New York, and Washington, D.C., software engineers are paid on average between $110,000 and $120,000.

Yet higher salaries don’t mean much with jaw-dropping rents and other soaring expenses associated with life in “Silicon Valley,” and San Francisco more specifically. Indeed, factoring in the cost of living, San Francisco is now one of the lowest-paying cities for software engineers, according to Hired’s lead data scientist, Jessica Kirkpatrick. According to her analysis, the $110,000 that an Austin engineer makes is the rough equivalent of being paid $198,000 in the Bay Area, considering how much further each dollar goes in the sprawling capital of Texas. The same is true of Melbourne, Australia, where software engineers are paid a comparatively low $107,000 on average, but who are making the equivalent of $150,000 in San Francisco.

In fact, Hired says it’s seeing a “huge percentage of our candidates” in other markets that are attracting and hiring relocation candidates. In Austin, says Kirkpatrick, 60 percent of job offers are being extended to and filled by people outside of Texas.

(It should be noted that candidates who are willing to move to a new city are often paid more than local candidates, per Hired. It says this is especially true of European, Canadian, and Asian markets, where, astonishingly, non-local candidates can earn up to 57 percent more than their local peers.)

How bias shows up in salaries

Hired’s study explores a range of other data, including how much data scientists and product managers are being paid across 16 major cities and how that salary information has changed over time. Of greater interest to us, however, is another section focused on the impact of bias on salaries and hiring practices. It’s something Hired began following roughly a year ago by collecting voluntary demographic data from candidates and examining how their identity impacts the wages they ask for — and what they receive.

Bias is nothing new, of course. In fact, in a survey released Tuesday by the job site Indeed.com, one quarter of U.S. workers in the tech sector said they’ve felt discrimination at work due to their race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation. Roughly 29 percent of female respondents said they experienced discrimination, compared with 21 percent of men. Meanwhile, 32 percent of Asian and nonwhite employees said they were discriminated against, compared with 22 percent of white employees.

Riaz Haq said...

#India biggest loser as #Australia decides to abolish 457 #immigration work visas | The News Minute. #h1bvisa

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/india-be-majorly-hit-australia-decides-abolish-457-immigration-work-visas-60553

Adopting a new "Australians first" approach to skilled migration, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he will be abolishing the existing 457 Visa programme, currently used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment in the country.

The 457 Visa programme is used mainly to hire foreign workers in the restaurant, IT and medical industries and the majority of such visa holders came from India, Britain and China, reported the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.

According to government statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia under 457 Visa programme last year, with the highest proportion coming from India (24.6 per cent), followed by Britain (19.5 per cent) and China (5.8 per cent).

Turnbull used Facebook to announce the policy, which he said would "put jobs first" and "Australians first", signalling a reduction in the occupations available to skilled foreign workers and raising the threshold to qualify.

"We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first," he said. "We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs."

Stating that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, he said: "We will no longer allow 457 Visa system to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians."

At a press conference in Canberra, Turnbull said the 457 Visa system needed to be replaced because it had "lost its credibility".

The scheme will be replaced by two temporary visas that will impose tougher English language tests, stricter labour market testing, at least two years of work experience and a mandatory police check.

The numbers of jobs eligible for the two-year and four-year visa streams will be slashed, with 216 occupations ranging from antique dealer to fisheries officer to shoe-maker, axed from a list of 651 professions on the list.

Accounting giant KPMG criticised the decision, saying "there is no evidence the current system is not working".

However, Turnbull dismissed that claim, arguing the abolition of the 457 Visa regime was "a decision of my government... this has been a careful exercise in policy development", reported the daily.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump signs executive order tightening rules on #H1B visa program. Will impact #India the most http://to.pbs.org/2peI3Tt via @NewsHour

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to tighten the rules for technology companies seeking to bring highly skilled foreign workers to the U.S.

The order Trump signed at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of tool maker Snap-on Inc. targets the H-1B visa program. The White House says the program undercuts American workers by bringing in large numbers of cheaper foreign workers, which drives down U.S. wages.

The order directs U.S. agencies to propose rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse in the program.

Agencies are also being asked to suggest changes so that H-1B visas are granted to the “most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.”

Trump says the order sends a “powerful signal to the world” that the U.S. will defend its workers, protect their jobs and put America first. He narrowly carried Wisconsin in November on the strength of support from white, working class voters. But Trump is currently facing a 41 percent approval in the state.


Riaz Haq said...

#H1B visas: #India talks tough, signals it may hit back over #US curbs. #Trump

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/4ItpsVUuXrtimX2wLZXlnL/H1B-visa-curbs-India-threatens-US-with-trade-retaliation.html


India has signalled it could respond against the US move to restrict H-1B visas by capping the royalty payout by American companies in India to their parent firms.

Not only does the veiled threat signal a toughening of India’s stance, the move, if implemented, risks escalating into a full-blown trade war that could harm the otherwise warm relationship between the two countries.

“It is not just that Indian companies are in the US, several big US companies are in India too,” trade minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi. “They are earning their margins, they are earning their profits, which go to the US economy. It is a situation which is not where only the Indian companies have to face the US executive order. There are many US companies in India which are doing business for some years now. If this debate has to be expanded, it has to be expanded to include all these aspects. We shall ensure that all these factors are kept in mind.”

The trade minister, however, declined to be drawn into a confrontational stance, saying India still preferred a constructive dialogue.

Sitharaman’s remarks came two days after US President Donald Trump ordered a review of the H-1B visa regime for bringing skilled foreign workers into the US, a move that could undermine technology and outsourcing firms.

When asked whether there is a case for India to drag countries such as the US, Australia and New Zealand to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for raising barriers to the free movement of professionals, Sitharaman said: “At this stage I can only say that we will ensure that we engage with them constructively. At the same time, I have no hesitation (in) saying that India will ensure that it shall not accept unfair treatment.”

At the event, Sitharaman said countries like the US had provided a commitment to the WTO on the number of work visas they would provide, and India can question them if they didn’t live up to the commitment.

Riaz Haq said...

Less than 5% of #India engineers are cut out for high-skill programming jobs — Quartz #h1bvisa #SiliconValley

https://qz.com/964843/less-than-5-of-india-engineers-are-cut-out-for-high-skill-programming-jobs/

When considering Indian engineering talent, quantity trumps quality.
Indian universities may be churning out the world’s largest engineering population, but the graduates’ skills levels aren’t high. In 2011, India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies estimated that only 25% of India’s IT engineering graduates were employable. Six years on, the talent pool is still in dire straits.
“Only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a program, a minimum requirement for any programming job,” a recent Aspiring Minds study of over 36,000 engineering students in India revealed. The employability assessment company tested students from IT-related streams of study at more than 500 colleges across India on Automata, a machine learning-based assessment of software development skills.

“The IT industry requires maintainable code so that it is less prone to bugs, is readable, reusable and extensible,” the study notes. “Time efficient code runs fast.” Only 1.4% of programmers surveyed could create code that was functionally correct and efficient, meaning it does what it’s supposed to do and in a reliable and speedy manner.
More than two-thirds of the candidates from the top 100 universities in the country were able to write “compilable code,” or that which does not throw errors when compiled into machine-readable code. In the rest of the colleges, only 31% of students were able to write compilable code.
One reason for the poor performance is the dearth of good instructors as well as misaligned college curriculums. “The school curriculum focusing on MS-Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc., rather teaching programming using elementary languages such as Basic and Logo is also the culprit,” said Varun Aggarwal, the co-founder and chief technology officer at Aspiring Minds.