New H-1B Visa Bill to Double Minimum Wage

A legislation has been introduced which among other things calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B Visa holders to $130k (currently set at $60k). Foreigners at large tech firms were underpaid relative to their American counterparts as companies exploited the broken system for years.

My question - how does this impact international college students that are sponsored to work in "low" paying jobs (i.e., Big 4 Audit where the starting all-in comp is under $60k)? I can see this leading to a major shift in recruiting / thousands of rescinded job offers.

Thoughts?

Comments (91)

Jan 31, 2017

thank god my foreign buddies were smart enough to break into PE before the exodus

that being said Trump is an American president and will serve the interests of Americans. It's a pity though because immigrants from my experience work much harder, but they aren't children of Uncle Sam

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Feb 1, 2017

This bill is to curtail the number of jobs filled by those requiring work visas. The thought being that it will lead to jobs being filled in cases only where an American cannot fill it---the steep pay is mean to be a deterrant to companies to see how much they really want to hire an international worker. As you said, this will result in a significant shift away from international hires--what it won't do is make jobs that used to be $65,000 jobs $130,000 jobs. I don't agree with this policy but the intent is pretty clear.

One thing that's interesting is that at the MBA associate level, associates currently start out at $125,000 for the stub year (before it rises to $150,000, which is under the threshold. I'd guess most banks would bump this up the $5k to be compliant and reduce the stub or signing bonus, rather than eliminating hiring international students, but it's worth monitoring.

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Feb 1, 2017

H1B application goes in during spring, so associates would be over that threshold at that point.

Feb 1, 2017

Good news. 2nd year analyst salary (for everyone with an MS) will go to $130K.

The congresswoman from CA is a shrewd lady.

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Feb 1, 2017

Just an observation, please correct if I'm wrong. H1b biggest drawback is the lottery system where employers cannot be certain if international students can obtain a Visa after getting the offer. Many do not hire non-US workers as a result. If minimum wage is raised to 130k, doesn't it make hiring international undergrad impossible now coz no positions pay 130k base first year? If so, the number of applicants for the Visa drops a lot from today's level, and assuming the space available remains relatively flat, doesn't it make post-MBA PE positions open for non-US MBA students? Since obtaining a Visa for high-paying job is almost guaranteed now. Last time I checked, post-MBA PE comp is above the new floor limit.

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Feb 1, 2017

I agree. If this goes through I think the US is about to lose a lot of talent. The tech giants like Apple/Google/Microsoft may be able to raise wages for top undergrads (whether they will is another question entirely), but I doubt other firms will be able to follow.

Post MBA positions may be more attractive for people that can get into a school that pretty much guarantees a salary above the 130K minimum, but grad school for other fields will become entirely unattractive to internationals.

I made around 100K for salary+bonus first year out of college - over three times the median personal income in the US. It's weird that the government thinks being so much higher/more productive than the median person is "not good enough" to warrant a work Visa. If this passes I think it'll be a huge mistake - all the talented internationals will just find a new country to go to.

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Feb 1, 2017
econecon101:

I agree. If this goes through I think the US is about to lose a lot of talent. The tech giants like Apple/Google/Microsoft may be able to raise wages for top undergrads (whether they will is another question entirely), but I doubt other firms will be able to follow.

Post MBA positions may be more attractive for people that can get into a school that pretty much guarantees a salary above the 130K minimum, but grad school for other fields will become entirely unattractive to internationals.

I made around 100K for salary+bonus first year out of college - over three times the median personal income in the US. It's weird that the government thinks being so much higher/more productive than the median person is "not good enough" to warrant a work Visa. If this passes I think it'll be a huge mistake - all the talented internationals will just find a new country to go to.

And we still have moronic socialists on this forum who are attempting to justify their protectionist delusions.

The world is a marketplace, and countries with the most freedom will be the ones who experience the most success. Up until now, that has been the U.S. but there is no reason that this must remain the case; there are plenty of other countries striving to take the United States's position in the world.

Oh well. People voted for this and they will face the benefits and consequences of their decision.

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Feb 1, 2017
econecon101:

I agree. If this goes through I think the US is about to lose a lot of talent. The tech giants like Apple/Google/Microsoft may be able to raise wages for top undergrads (whether they will is another question entirely), but I doubt other firms will be able to follow.

Post MBA positions may be more attractive for people that can get into a school that pretty much guarantees a salary above the 130K minimum, but grad school for other fields will become entirely unattractive to internationals.

I made around 100K for salary+bonus first year out of college - over three times the median personal income in the US. It's weird that the government thinks being so much higher/more productive than the median person is "not good enough" to warrant a work Visa. If this passes I think it'll be a huge mistake - all the talented internationals will just find a new country to go to.

Talented how, though? In my experience, top decile programmers can earn $130K pretty easy and they have 5-10x the productivity of a median developer. (I say this as a top 20%, not top 5% programmer). I argue the same holds in finance, and I also argue that salaries will get pushed up towards this $130K figure. Bad news for google, good news for workers.

$130K is pretty steep-- I'd rather see $100K phased in over a few years or maybe have us get to $130K over six or seven, with a 20% reduction in the required salary for people in rural communities where the community signs up for an exemption. But I'd argue the US is still going to get the top decile under this policy.

I'm not saying it's fair, but we have to be honest here. The dude who can design and build a fusion reactor in a semi-trailer for Lockheed is still going to get a job here. The dude who can rewrite all of Morgan Stanley's corporate bond analytics code when he gets bored some weekend is still going to get a job here. The guy making seven figures trading options out of his dorm room will still be ok. The other 90% of us (including me) wouldn't be able to. But we're not necessarily make-or-break for a country's economy. We're good productive people who can take care of ourselves whatever the circumstances (including working in our country of origin), but we're not quite as indispensible as we think we are.

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Feb 1, 2017

This isn't aimed at finance, it is aimed at the big tech firms who are exploiting the system to hire techs at 60k when the going rate for the same tech from America is 80k.
To clarify, there are a surplus of people who meet the talent, education, and experience required for these positions but the big tech firms are hiring foreign workers for the express reason of saving money on their employee expenses. The idea that America would be the only country in the western world that has protectionism for its citizens in regards to employment would be a laughably naive position to take.

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Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Feb 3, 2017

Correction: the big tech consulting firms that act as body shops. Big tech companies hire in internationals at market rate, which is pretty substantial at the moment.

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Feb 1, 2017

Good old intervention...

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Feb 1, 2017

As an international student with a SA IBD offer (and have friends with FT offers), how should I address these concerns to HR? I am from a EU country, and hope to be proactive with this, even though there's not much I can do. I would really appreciate any advice - if anyone has experience dealing with work authorization, etc.

Feb 1, 2017

Well, naturalize quickly. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

Feb 2, 2017

Yup, the naturalization process is not quick and can take up to 3 years. That said, this is only legislation that has been introduced in the House, there is no telling if and how long it will take to pass on to the Senate and Trump.

Gimme the loot

Feb 1, 2017

But I thought the 130K number was base salary + bonus number? In that case at least, 1st year analyst may be able to satisfy the hurdle. And for now, the hurdle seems to apply only to "dependent" employers, in which more than 15% of its employees are internationals. I'd doubt this would apply to BBs...

Feb 1, 2017

130k is for base salary, same as with the current 60k. I have not read about dependent employers only and not to BB. A few EBs in some instances outright told offer holders that they could not sponsor even though they're clearly not "dependent".

Feb 1, 2017

I think those EBs just don't sponsor at all in the first place. Moelis doesn't sponsor at all, when I went through the process I found this out the hard way. According to my firm's immigration lawyer, $130k is not a 'minimum' wage, but a threshold wage at which H1B employees are considered "exempt". I think employers can still pay H1B workers a prevailing wage. Employers who have a certain amount of H1B workers (15% for a firm with more than 51 employees) are H1B 'dependent' employers and it is much harder for them to displace American workers and must make an extra effort to hire domestic workers (advertise first in the US). If they pay the foreign employee above the proposed exempt wage of $130k, the H1B workers are considered "exempt" H1b non-immigrants and will not be counted as part of the firm's H1B statistics.

Also, the proposed bill has a clause to allocate 20% of visas to small businesses like startups, and I'm not sure how they'd pay $130k to all employees if it wasn't the above condition. This bill is worrying for me of course, though there is a clause that aims to build a bridge between F1 student status and green card status, though it's not clear how this will be accomplished. I'm not a lawyer, but this is what I am being told. Still very worrying, I am trying to be proactive on my end

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Feb 1, 2017

It is incredibly stupid to send back ambitious foreigners who are educated by elite US schools or refuse those educated at top foreign schools who will now build up their own economies instead of America's.

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Feb 1, 2017

Why is everybody attributing this bill to Trump? It was introduced by a Democrat.

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Feb 1, 2017
thurnis haley:

Why is everybody attributing this bill to Trump? It was introduced by a Democrat.

I only saw one mention of Trump in this thread.

Unfortunately, protectionist ideology is not isolated to a single individual.

Feb 1, 2017

Alternative facts, bro

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Feb 1, 2017

The idea that you couldn't find all lower and mid level employees domestically is absolutely mind boggling given our current un- and under-employment levels. Are there jobs you couldn't fill through the domestic labor pool? No doubt, but they should have been high paying anyway. If anything this would force employers to not take advantage of them. Surprising that low and mid level internationals wouldn't like this idea.

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Feb 1, 2017

The point is that there will dramatically fewer "low and mid level internationals", because there won't be an opportunity for most of them to start in the US out of undergrad.

Feb 1, 2017

Did you even read my post before throwing shit? That's literally the whole point. It would price internationals out from easy to fill positions (ie "low" pay) and force domestic hiring. I said (albeit sarcastically) I knew given the demos on this site that butts would be hurt by this.

Feb 1, 2017

Doesn't that greatly help me as a Canadian looking at NYC after my undergrad? My understanding is Canadians can get in using the TN Visa (economist-ish) under NAFTA meaning Canadians would be the only internationals eligible for analyst positions.

That is unless Trump scraps NAFTA altogether...

Feb 1, 2017

Can somewhat speak to this as I'm currently working based on a TN1 Visa in another industry. You're correct if Trump doesn't scrap NAFTA (still up for debate) it makes Canada in particular more competitive relative to other countries. From my experience smaller firms do not want to bother / do not feel comfortable with Visa sponsorship when they have candidates at their doorstep though. All things equal, why would they bother, right? For the extra expense/hassle you'll have to be an exceptional candidate.

Another thing for you to personally consider is that the TN1 Visa does not offer a path to citizenship under any circumstance. The H1B does. TN1 does get you into the country, although it isn't a comfortable feeling to think if your company fires you that you also have to leave the country immediately.

Feb 1, 2017

.

Feb 1, 2017
qzatti:

Doesn't that greatly help me as a Canadian looking at NYC after my undergrad? My understanding is Canadians can get in using the TN Visa (economist-ish) under NAFTA meaning Canadians would be the only internationals eligible for analyst positions.

That is unless Trump scraps NAFTA altogether...

"They're sending people that have lots of tar sands, and they're bringing those tar sands to us. They're bringing natural gas. They're bringing timber. They're hunters. And some, I assume, like warm weather!"

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Feb 1, 2017

To paraphase a world leader, this bill is "wrong." The negative impact of closing our borders may be subtle at first, but over a generation we will see the rotten fruits of this counterproductive, protectionist legislation.

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Feb 1, 2017
Synergy_or_Syzygy:

To paraphase a world leader, this bill is "wrong." The negative impact of closing our borders may be subtle at first, but over a generation we will see the rotten fruits of this counterproductive, protectionist legislation.

We did the same thing in the 1920s. 30 years later, it was the 1950s and the US economy was booming.

Furthermore, the very best and brightest-- those who can earn over $130K/year-- are still welcome here under this legislation. This 5% probably accounts for half of all H1B productivity.

The rest of the world is going to be unhappy that the US is doing this. But India acts in the best interests of their citizens and plays the mercantilist game-- they exempt technology businesses from taxes. Japan does it-- they give their automakers an export credit. Dubai does it-- they even have a caste system with Emiratis on the top, Americans and Europeans in the middle, and Indians on the bottom. China's culture excludes Americans and other westerners even if they speak perfect Mandarin. Not to mention all of the dumping. It is no surprise that the rest of the world would loudly complain if we try to do the same thing. But every country that is complaining about US mercantilism is being totally hypocritical. How about you get rid of your export subsidies and tax exemptions and we'll talk?

My take is that we don't want to disrupt peoples' lives and make them hate us for a generation, but we ought to start acting in the best interests of our citizens. That means pursuing free trade with countries that play fair (Canada, UK, Northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, maybe South Korea) and having more mercantilist policies towards countries that don't.

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Feb 1, 2017

Whataboutism aside, we are supposed to be leading the way, you know, shining city on the hill? If India, Dubai, China, etc. turn inward, our best weapon of counterattack is to literally import their best and brightest, or at the very least, their very good and bright. America has plenty of space for talent to thrive.

Ramping up legal immigration would also work positively toward making America more inwardly self-sufficient, a goal which I see many here espousing. I'm on board - let's onshore manufacturing, balance our economy, become more competitive. What I do not believe in is drawing a line in 2017 and saying, "Okay, everyone who came in before is a 'true American,' and we don't need anyone else." Patently absurd.

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Feb 1, 2017

so your argument is that backwoods countries like the UAE and India (where rape laws are lax and their caste system still pervades their entire economy) and the nationalistic Japanese (who could use some immigration to spur growth and burgeon a populous that will soon hit a retirement wall) are protectionist so we should be too? Your argument is that maybe if we have a 3rd world war maybe we can have a boom like the 50s? Man, people are really drinking this protectionist Kool-Aid. No issue with questioning the protectionist policies of other countries but do we not do the same with certain industries? Since America embraced free trade, almost every other country in the world has gone in the same direction, we are leaders not followers. So if (or when) we go protectionist, the world will follow, and we will all suffer (some more so than others) as a result.

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Nov 25, 2017

I can't put my finger on it. For the longest time, I passionately disagreed with almost everything you said. The last 2 years or so, I find myself not recognizing you--like, I've agreed with practically all Illiniprogrammer for 2 years or so now. Is that just happenstance (issues have changed), have I changed, or have you changed? There was a time that I wanted to cane you in the head until your heart stopped beating, but I don't feel that way anymore about you...

Feb 1, 2017

I don't know why people are freaking out about this bill. I don't want to walk through NYC and see piles of homeless people all over the place. We should put all of our effort on lowering the income gap and giving jobs to as any Americans as possible. I could care less if we have the "top" economy or if we are "the most powerful nation on earth", I just want a job that pays well enough where I can get drunk, go skiing, and play golf. We need to build a strong middle class that America was built on.

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Feb 1, 2017

Unfortunately, homeless people are not going to be doing the jobs of H1-B workers. Additionally, non-H1B legal immigrants to this country have a predilection toward starting small businesses and, you know, employing existing Americans.

Illegal immigration is a scourge on this nation, but legal immigrants, having jobs and being taxpayers, are clearly and objectively a net benefit to our society.

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Feb 1, 2017

The U.S. has not had this amount of isolationism since the 1930's.

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Feb 1, 2017

As a Republican (or maybe at this point, RINO? Libertarian?), I feel like I am taking crazy pills.

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Feb 1, 2017

The majority of these H1-Bs go to Indian outsourcers. Bumping it to $100k plus actually would likely shift the H1-B allocation to companies that are hiring top talent, rather than body shopping.

Feb 1, 2017

Vastly increasing the quota of H1-B could accomplish the same thing without the ridiculous consequence of pricing out labor of young talented immigrants.

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Feb 1, 2017

https://i.imgflip.com/8vl28.gif

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Feb 1, 2017

The first person on here to actually state the reason why this is being enacted...

Feb 1, 2017

Immigrants have something to prove, most locals don't in comparison.

Some Enlist in the Military to earn their right to a Citizenship by serving to defend the USA. These people are the hardest working I've ever seen in my life. Compared to the "locals", the ones who are coming out of third-world Countries can easily outwork the typical entitled American in and out of the uniform.

Granted, there are a ton of hard working Americans. I'm stereotyping the trend that we all see which is this growing sentiment of going backwards in terms of maturity and dedication going forward into the Corporate America workforce. Absolutely unacceptable when people of the same age are bleeding, dying, and sacrificing themselves to defend this Country while the entitled citizens feel like the USA, their parents, and the World at large owes them something.

Feb 1, 2017

False - assuming people are going to a company that values performance over the flat out number of years worked.

...

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Feb 1, 2017

The Fat 500 has a lot of lazy bums of all types. Compare this with the Samurai mentality of Japan and you will notice a cultural difference between the America today vs what made this Country great back in the Industrial Age and the insane national mentality of besting everyone else as exhibited by the Japanese. Ever seen little kids walking around at middle of the night from the train station after getting done at Cram schools?

Most Generational Wealth fizzles out after 3-4 Generations. Where are the Vanderbilts today?

This land belonged to the Native Americans. So, essentially, it's one group of Immigrants who got here early to the Gold mine feeling entitled and scared of their loot being diluted or distributed preventing others from doing the same, right?

Singapore has better living standards and quality of life as does Japan. If you don't need to feed on your local land and can monetize with an internet based business, I see no reason why this is the best Country to remain as a resident. For anyone who has been overseas, there are definitely greener pastures elsewhere.

@differentialequations12 @Xiiixiii

Feb 1, 2017
BreakingRich:

False - assuming people are going to a company that values performance over the flat out number of years worked.

Ever seen people die of overwork here in the USA? Working 120-140 hour weeks were normal in the Military. In Japan, if you are not dying, you are not trying! They used my people, the Chinese, as mortar to build the Great Wall.

Old Wise Chinese Saying:
"Yep, this poor bastard overworked himself and died. Good! Now his body shall hold up the Wall as we use his remains for filling in voids and can report more efficient cost-savings with reduced material consumption while also saving on funeral and severance costs."

People who slept 4 hours a night were having beauty sleep, normally your lucky if you slept 3, and you wake up and walk 2mins to the Office and 5mins to chow hall (cafeteria). A true work from 'home' experience! models and bottles? What's that? For some it was mortars and RPGs, for others it was Drills and Damage Control all hours of the day. You don't have that luxury in the middle of the Ocean, underneath it, or in a flaming hot Desert.

Work-Deployment Balance. Work is life. This is why Veterans transition well into WallSt like the various VIP programs. This is easy. Most of you haven't been to 3rd world countries, bled in them, or volunteered in disease ridden hospitals with blood and other human fluids all over the ground and walls. Most of you haven't had experiences or never will have experienced being deployed. Per hour pay for Enlisted is well below minimum wage and now the wage is going to double, the per hour pay of Enlisted will be even worse. It might be more profitable to flip Burgers at McDonalds than to defend your Country against all Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. That's a scary thought because who's going to join now when the incentives are drastically worse financially?

Then again, when we weren't deployed... :)

Feb 1, 2017

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm looking at the bill, and the $130000 min wage applies only to H1B-dependent employers (ie outsourcing companies, not BBs or EBs).

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Feb 1, 2017

I think you are right. Most of the popular companies on here are not H1B dependent companies therefore won't be affected by whatever it is, be it 60K or 130K or 500K.

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Feb 1, 2017

60 to 130 is a 117% increase, which is an outrageously drastic shift in terms of the relative magnitude of the change. This will cause not only the number of foreigners working in the US to plummet going forward, but also the number of foreigners wanting to study in the US - since the chances of them working here after graduation will be slim

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Feb 1, 2017
Going Concern:

60 to 130 is a 117% increase, which is an outrageously drastic shift in terms of the relative magnitude of the change. This will cause not only the number of foreigners working in the US to plummet going forward, but also the number of foreigners wanting to study in the US - since the chances of them working here after graduation will be slim

Sweet. More seats for Americans at universities, too.

In all seriousness, $60K is low, but $130K is extreme. I favor a minimum that's $10k above whatever Street is for a first year analyst these days. Is it still $80K? But raising the H1B minimum wage is going to push up middle-class wages, especially for young employees with STEM backgrounds.

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Feb 1, 2017
IlliniProgrammer:

In all seriousness, $60K is low, but $130K is extreme. I favor a minimum that's $10k above whatever Street is for a first year analyst these days.

10k above market average (by region) for an analyst would make perfect sense. 130k minimum wage is ridiculous

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Feb 2, 2017

I've seen a lot of news articles with the headline "Come to Canada" "Canadian Tech companies optimistic in face to Trump's immigration restriction"

  • More than 200 Canadian technology company founders, executives and investors called on Sunday for Ottawa to immediately give temporary residency to those displaced by a US order banning the entry of people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Feb 2, 2017

Here's a contrarian trade for you. Sh*t like this will raise wage artificially, with no additional productivity. Higher wages will decrease earnings. So short labor intensive companies.

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

Feb 2, 2017

A higher salary threshold will be hurt Infosys and similar cos, but I don't think big players like Google, Apple etc will feel a lot of pain on this. In theory this might even be good for them, since pushing outsourcing companies out of the game more visas would be available - But maybe offset by that 20% allocation to SMEs (which combined to a high salary requirement essentially means these probably won't be used).

Also, if I'm not wrong there is also a requirement that priority should be given to hiring Us citizens - while it does make sense, I believe this is already the case (correct me if I"m wrong) so I don't know how this would impact internationals more than they are today.

As mentioned in the first topic, this will probably lead to a shift in recruitment for internationals in low to medium pay roles, but I don't think this will necessarily mean a lot of high paying jobs for US citizens.

Feb 2, 2017

I'd also add that this legislation applies only to companies where >15% of their workforce are on H-1Bs. This excludes companies such as Accenture and IBM, allowing them to meet the $60K old cap.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-38828181

Feb 3, 2017

First, it all was leaked and has never been confirmed.
Second, this potential 'raise' only applies to so-called 'dependent employers' (http://www.visapro.com/h1b-visa/h1b-dependent-empl...). I doubt that every big firm (not to mention smaller boutiques) meets the requirements.

If you follow rumors, try to read every paragraph.

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Feb 4, 2017

The H1B program was always billed as "high tech" visas allowing firms to bring in international talent for which no domestic substitute could be found. 60k is a perfectly respectable salary but let's get real here. A 60k engineer is not internationally elite talent. It's a junior entry level salary.

Jul 18, 2017

Shieeeet..... I am an international whose gotten a private boarding school education and go to USC on the West Coast.... this doesn't seem too promising...making things worse lmao

Jul 18, 2017

Should have been "Made in America" lol.

Nov 23, 2017

Not exactly related, but I want to update on this. Seems the government is 'back-dooring' its way to reduce legal work visas.

Despite me having a Visa, six-figure salary, top-ranked in my department, my visa transfer was rejected, and now I am without a job (since I already resigned at my previous employer).
They have slowed the process down so much that its not even worth it for any employer to hire international.

Now, I am wondering my exit ops. Where I can go with my EQR experience (which unfortunately) doesnt have big opportunities back home.

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Nov 24, 2017

Protecting domestic labor market is the priority. Feel bad for foreign students who are studying in the states though.

"If you're afraid - don't do it, if you're doing it - don't be afraid!"
-- Genghis Khan

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