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H1-B Visa Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Remedy

I've said this before, but I read a lot of blogs and articles and newsletters to keep up with everything that is SI-related. One article that I came across recently had some surprising news about H1-B Visas, which should be of interest to all of my international readers. It also has some not so great news for our non-traditional SI students.

Alice LaPlante, a writer at InformationWeek, wrote some commentary for the TechCareers' Newsletter as she's working on a very important story for anyone working in the IT industry. The article highlights the impact of H1-B visas on the IT employment ranks and comes to the conclusion: "It's Getting Ugly Real Fast."

Ms. LaPlante shares the following:
"Although admittedly anecdotal, I keep hearing two things: first, that older IT workers, even those who have kept their skills up to date, or are clearly competent to acquire new ones, are getting the shaft in favor of younger workers. And when employers run out of young U.S. citizens to hire, they turn to the (on average) very young H-1B visa holders before they'll look at the seasoned 45-year-old Americans.

Secondly, many foreign H-1B holders are feeling a vicious backlash as the trend toward outsourcing continues, and as technology companies keep issuing their dire warnings that without more H-1Bs they'll have to send more jobs offshore. Actually, H-1B holders -- the majority of whom are Indian -- get hit with a double whammy: not only do they, on average, get paid less than their American citizen counterparts, they are often very personally blamed for keeping IT salaries artificially depressed due to what many claim is an oversaturated IT labor market. "It's gotten very ugly very fast," one H-1B holder told me."

The only good thing that I can take away from this is that our international students have a good chance of getting employment within the technology industry -- and another good thing is that the SI salary surveys for the 2006 year thus far are showing that salaries are up, even with the economic state of Michigan. There are steps that can be taken to overcome these challenges: international students can work with SI Careers to develop a strategic negotiating plan when they are considering offers for internships and full-time opportunities in order to ensure that they are being paid competitive wages. More experienced or older students can brand their resume in a variety of different ways to highlight their cutting-edge skills and knowledge so that they get the interview that will prove them equally or more adept as their younger job contenders.

Ms. LaPlante came to these conclusions as she is doing research for another article on H1-B visas and employment. Check out the link for the rest of this article and watch this blog for a pointer to the one that she's been researching.

Posted by kkowatch at June 26, 2007 01:50 PM


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