Friday, June 23, 2006

77% of H-1b Applications are Certified by the DOL below the average prevailing wages

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77% of H-1b Applications are Certified by the DOL below the average prevailing wages

Normally I detail what an H-1b visa is in my writings, however the reader of this is presumed to know that already. Please seek information on Wikipedia or other sources if you are unfamiliar with the subject and then refer back to these statistics so that you understand who is impacted by it.

In 2005 there were 279,719 LCAs certified by the Department of Labor for Programmer and Programmer/Analyst occupations. The average salary for these jobs going to foreign guest workers stands at $53,024. Median annual earnings of America computer programmers was $62,890 in May 2004; although the average rose slightly in 2005 we will use the more conservative 2004 averages for these purposes.

What this means is that the H-1b program has enabled companies to underpay programmers by 15.6 percent or $9,866 each year. I am a software developer and have the LCA database stored on my personal server, it was made available by the US Department of Labor. Running a simple query returned these startling results.

According to the DOL starting salary ranges are as follows for American programmers in 2004:

... See Link for Data

What this proves is that the H-1b program is being used for labor arbitrage - simply put companies are flooding the labor markets in an effort to lower labor costs. 46% percent of all H-1b programmers are certified by the Department of Labor for pay BELOW $50,000 each year. Additionally, 77% of programmers are certified for wages below the average prevailing wage in this occupation.

This has been driven by deception from industry lobbyists like the ITAA. They say there have been shortages of programmers. In fact, programmers have less jobs as they did in the year 2000. Many people still may believe that there is a shortage of programmers because of misinformation. I produced a paper that should dispell this myth:

Another myth is that H-1b visas fill hard to find jobs. That may be true in select occupations, however the vast majority of H-1b visas fill jobs where there are not shortages of skilled labor, just shortages of cheap labor. These numbers suggest otherwise:

Total LCA Applications in 2005

Occupation...............................Applications.......Percent of Total (Rounded)
Non-Programmer IT Jobs.................132,627.....................22%
Non-IT Jobs.........................................199,466.....................33%

The reason I focus on Programmer jobs is because the vast majority of applications is for these jobs - as seen above. Many people ask why the Programmers Guild seems to just focus on this issue, well now you know. 68% of all H-1b visa applications are for IT-related positions so it is only natural that we take a lead on this issue.

One solution to this problem, since so many companies are looking for cheap labor as opposed to highly skilled labor, is to set the a minimum wage at the average. If the H-1b becomes a visa designed to deliver quality workers as opposed to a large number of low paid workers it will meet less opposition. In addition to fair pay for the workers on H-1b visas, we must prevent American workers from being displaced. Although my other paper details such a method, there are many factors to consider.

Some top hitters include

... Read the actual paper ...

If the goal of the H-1b program is to replace American workers and provide corporations with exploitable and cheap labor, then it is working just fine. If the goal is to provide corporations with truly high skilled labor, then it is falling short. Our proposals work towards that goal and should be supported by any legitimate company with a legitimate need. Those opposing us are most likely abusers of the system.

Here was the query run so everyone knows this is legit and open. FYI Software Engineer positions were not a part of this result set. Companies claim they need "software engineers" - so why are over 2/3 of the IT jobs just for "PROGRAMMERS" ???

select sum(nbr_immigrants) total, truncate(avg(wage_rate_1),2) AveragePay
from lca
where rate_per_1 = 'Year'
and Approval_Status = 'Certified'
and job_code like ('03%')
and ucase(job_title) like ('%PROGRAMMER%')
Order by total;


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