Why H-1B is Wrong Solution

Why H-1B is wrong solution – a question that we have been asked

Why H-1B is wrong solution – a question that we have been asked by a number of reporters (see press release).  Below are two tables that  Janco has created in getting the answer to that question.

Why H-1B is Wrong Solution
H-1B Visas 2015 – 2017 – What is wrong with the H-1B visa program
Why H-1B is Wrong Solution base on who get the visas
Number of H-1B visas issued for IT related jobs is 78.5% of the total – Is a lottery the right way to allocate the visas

Below are some of the questions that we were asked by a reporter for a national publication.

General Questions

Reporter: Is the Information Security Analysts job the only H-1B security job in your findings?

Janulaitis: Yes, that is the only pure security role.  However, there are individuals who have those skills and are classified as Network and Computer Systems Administrators. They fill some of the roles of the security analysts.

Reporter: Do you have any insights into whether that number is so low because. A) no company’s are looking abroad for security skills. or B) people with these skills are applying but not getting accepted? 

Janulaitis: First there has to be demand for that role.  Many C-Level executives do not feel comfortable with security being done by non-US workers who are not on shore and/or are outsourced.

When C-Level executives have a choice, the idea that an H-1B is responsible for security is not one they relish. They need some assurance that H-1B employees will remain with the company.  There have been too many hacks that have taken place where immediate response is required. There is less control when the individual is an H-1B employee that is a contractor.  Companies like Microsoft and Apple (vs Tata’s) offer real opportunities for security specialists. These are US companies, not outsourcers, and have a long term view.  I know both Microsoft and Apple have good internal training programs in place with real career paths for the “best of breed” technologist that they hire with H-1Bs.

Reporter: Do you think that IT security and cyber-security skills should be given special consideration for H-1B visas? Under the proposed revamping of the program that may include moving to merit-based selection program rather than a pure lottery system.

Janulaitis: In general, all H-1B visas should be merit based.  My feeling is that the first choice for jobs should be US nationals who are qualified, then foreign nationals who are graduates of US Universities and want to become US residents and lastly, graduates of foreign Universities who want to become US residents.  The idea that there is a lottery and companies like Tata win a large number of positions that they then use to “replace” US workers does not make any sense at all.  The purpose of the program is to give the US a competitive edge in technology not reduce cost for US corporations.

Reporter: The question is being raised because the global demand for cyber-security workers is expected to reach 6 million by 2019. There is a projected shortfall of 1.5 million qualified security pros. More than half of organizations today say that finding and recruiting talented IT security staff with the right skill sets is a “significant” or “major” challenge.

Janulaitis: First we start to educate our IT pros in the disciplines required. Then have jobs for them when they graduate and there will be much less of a need for “foreign” workers.  It should be a H-1B requirement that these individuals have a “desire” to become full time US residents.  If companies like Tata game the system, they should be penalized. Perhaps they could be required to post a bond of say 20% of the annual salary be put in trust.  That would be returned when the individual qualifies to be a permanent resident.  If they do become full time residents within a specified period, then the bond would be forfeited and the individual would have to leave the US. We need to take the profit out of gaming the H-1B program.

Other Observations

Reporter: Any other insight you might have into this would be greatly appreciated.

Janulaitis: Companies like Tata should not be allowed to get the number of H-1B visas they do.  They are gaming the system by creating US subsidiaries that are just a shell to get revenue out of the US and not necessarily help the US to be a technology leader. The focus of the H-1B program should be to get foreign nationals that are world class to come to the US, become full time residents, and contribute to our society.  Currently students come to the US and take the limited number of advanced degree slots available we have and are capping the number of US nationals who can fill them.  It is not the US’s role to educate the world.  We need to do everything possible to have H-1B visa holders stay here.  It is not good when over 75% graduates leave and go back to place like China and India.

I believe much of the problem we have is due to our educational system.  We need to have more of a focus on math and science and less on social engineering.  As a county we spend more on education but rank behind Poland. We have a bias towards foreign nationals in our graduate and doctoral programs.  We need an educated population of college graduates who focus on both math and the science. Then we need to have jobs for the individuals that have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees. That includes undergraduate as well as masters and doctoral degrees.  It is much easier to grow our skill base if we have the professors who can teach those subjects.  China, for example, is graduating more students from it universities in robotics on an annual basis than we have in total.

 

 

Author: Victor Janulaitis

M. Victor Janulaitis is the CEO of Janco Associates. He has taught at the USC Graduate School of Business, been a guest lecturer at the UCLA’s Anderson School of Business, a Graduate School at Harvard University, and several other universities in various programs.