1/13/2017 3:15:23 AM
IT staffing exec indicted in bribery, kickback
Local IT staffing exec indicted in alleged bribery, kickback scheme
A Carmel man who leads a local IT consulting and staffing company has been indicted for allegedly participating in a bribery and kickback scheme with an accomplice who worked for a national health care charity based in New Jersey.
Dilip Vadlamudi, president and co-founder of Indianapolis-based Pyramid Technology Solutions Inc., and Nimesh Patel, former senior director of the information technology group at the national headquarters of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Westchester, New Jersey, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
The pair was indicted last month in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, New York, after a grand jury investigation.
“As alleged, the defendants conspired to defraud a national nonprofit organization,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York said in a written statement. “Patel allegedly abused his position at the nonprofit to funnel millions in fees to Vadlamudi’s company in exchange for hundreds of thousands in kickbacks. Thanks to the investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the defendants’ alleged fraud scheme has been put to an end.”
Both men face three counts: one count each of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud; conspiring to violate the Travel Act; and conspiring to commit money laundering.
The wire fraud and money laundering counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The Travel Act count carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Both men were arrested last month and released on bond of $250,000. Both entered preliminary pleas of not guilty.
Vadlamudi ‘s attorney, Sharon Louise McCarthy, did not respond to a request for comment on the case.
According to the indictment, Patel, 45, used his position at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to hire workers from Vadlamudi’s firm. The society paid Vadlamudi’s company about $2.2 million for about 36 temporary IT workers from 2012 to 2014.
In return for the business, Vadlamudi, 45, funneled $274,000 in illegal kickbacks to Patel, the indictment alleges. Investigators say Vadlamudi made the payments from the bank account of an unnamed company he owns into an account of a shell company set up by Patel.
Patel used those funds to make an $80,000 downpayment on a residence, buy a life insurance policy and pay credit card bills, according to the indictment.
When the not-for-profit launched a probe into Patel’s activities in late 2014, he told investigators that he barely knew Vadlamudi and had little contact with him.
Investigators said they later uncovered nearly 800 emails the two exchanged from 2009 to 2014.
Pyramid Technology Solutions, 9535 E 59th St., was founded in 1998 and offers numerous IT-related services, including consulting, cloud and enterprise solutions, and temporary and permanent staffing. The firm reported revenue of $28 million in 2015.
The company is the 14th largest minority-owned business in the area, with 64 local full-time employees, according to IBJ research. Pyramid Technology said 90 percent of its local employees are minorities.
It ranked as the area's fourth-largest area employment agency in 2015, with 51 fulltime employment counselors; and as the 15th largest woman-owned business based on employment.
Owners are listed as Lavanya Kantamaneni and Lalitha Vadlamudi.
The firm also has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and development centers in Hyderabad and Vijayawada, India.
A 2014 story by The Indianapolis Star said Pyramid Technology had 170 workers companywide, with about 75 percent of them working under the H-1B visa program.
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12/28/2016 1:28:28 AM
Tracy man faces visa fraud charges
Tracy man faces visa fraud charges
A Tracy man is scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge today after being indicted last week on 33 counts of visa fraud and identity theft.
A federal grand jury returned a 33-count indictment charging Abhijit Prasad, 49, with 31 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said.
According to the indictment, Prasad filed 31 petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at various locations in California. The indictment further alleges that Prasad obtained two H-1B visas procured by fraud and false statements, and used the means of identification of a real person to effectuate his visa fraud scheme.
Prasad was arraigned on the indictment on Dec. 23 and released with conditions, including the surrender of his passport and a bond until a further detention hearing, authorities said.
If convicted, Prasad could face 10 years in prison on each visa fraud count, a two-year mandatory, consecutive sentence on the identity theft counts and up to $500,000 in fines, authorities said.
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12/20/2016 2:41:41 AM
U.S. Workers to Train Foreign Replacements
Carnival Forces U.S. Workers to Train Foreign Replacements Before Christmas - Defund.com
Breitbart reports:Americans working at Carnival Corporation say the company’s Christmas gift to hundreds of its college-graduate employees was the news that they are being fired and must train their low-wage foreign replacements.
“I am still processing my emotions and my disbelief,” said Matthew Culver, a senior Miami-based IT worker with Carnival. “After twenty years in the industry, this is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. I never thought this could happen to me after so many years of experience, education, and hard work,” he told Breitbart News.
“On December 6, 2016, my coworkers and I were asked to attend a town hall meeting,” Culver explained, adding:
We were informed that 200 to 300 of our jobs were being terminated and we were offered jobs with an outsourcing company named Capgemini. Our last day with Carnival would be February 3rd. We are going to be training foreign workers inside and outside the United States to take over our jobs; then we are not guaranteed any future with Capgemini. The workers are in Florida, California and Washington State. We must decide by December 19th if we plan to train our foreign replacements and work with the outsourcing company in their goal of offshoring the jobs.
The jobs are being transferred because Carnival is outsourcing critical tasks to Capgemini, a French outsourcing firm. The firm has been known to exploit federal guest-worker programs by importing thousands of foreign workers, primarily from India, to work in U.S. jobs that likely would otherwise be filled by middle-class American college graduates.
While Carnival denies the workers’ allegations, the anti-American worker business model of outsourcing U.S. jobs to imported foreign labor has received growing media attention in recent years, and has taken place at companies such as Siemens, Disney, Fossil Inc., Southern California Edison, Xerox, Northeast Utilities, and Abbott Labs. The salary-slashing business model is made possible by federal cheap-labor outsourcing programs, which are strongly supported by Wall Street because they convert suburban white-collar salaries into investors’ capital gains.
Companies in the United States now employ roughly one million white-collar temporary foreign “guest workers.” That total includes at least 650,000 lower-wage graduates on H-1B visas.
In March of 2016, then-GOP candidate Donald J. Trump promised to protect Americans from guest worker programs: “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said. “No exceptions.”
“I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker,” the President-elect pledged in a recent two-minute video posted on YouTube outlining his plans for his first 100 days in office.
“Originally Carnival was a big family… I feel so deceived and unappreciated,” another worker, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from the company, said in a statement to Breitbart. It’s “inhuman” and “illogical” for Carnival to now “outsource us to India,” the worker said.
The fact that this news “comes merely a few weeks before Christmas… makes the decision that much harder,” Culver added. “My coworkers are worried about their families, their health insurance and whether they will be able to find work after they train their foreign replacement. The atmosphere at work is extremely somber. I am stressed and worried and my coworkers feel the same.”
A spokesman for Carnival, Roger Frizzell, denied the workers’ claim that they are going to have to train their foreign replacements. “The company is transitioning its shore-side IT operations, maintenance and support in North America to an outside firm, Capgemini, to help the company keep pace with the evolving technology environment. All impacted individuals will become employees of Capgemini,” Frizzell told Breitbart in an emailed statement.
“Capgemini subject matter experts will be working closely with individuals to conduct operations assessments to understand how work is currently done and identify process improvements,” Frizzell added in a separate email. “Once knowledge transfer activities have been completed, Capgemini will look to implement new processes and procedures in order to increase standardization and efficiencies.”
Despite Carnival’s assurances that the workers’ claims are not correct, the workers and their legal representation maintain their charge against the corporation.
“Princess Cruise line was just in the news for illegally dumping oil in the ocean. I guess it should not be surprising that such a company would also dump their American workers for cheap foreign labor,” said attorney Sara Blackwell, whose organization, Protect US Workers, represents high-skilled American workers replaced by low-wage foreign workers.
Blackwell told Breitbart that several of the impacted American workers reached out to her, seeking help following Carnival’s alleged announcement.
“The workers are devastated, shocked and angry,” Blackwell said.
I met with several of them in Miami and participated in conference calls with workers in California. I watched mothers cry and one of the workers pleaded with me to find a way to help him save his job because he is the only income source and he needs to work for his wife and children. They were all scared to refuse to train their foreign replacement because they need to provide for their families but they all want to keep their jobs and they do not want to train the foreign workers. The American workers were told at a town hall meeting that virtually all of the jobs were going to India.
“The purpose of this decision is to lower labor costs by exploiting the workers in India,” Blackwell added. “The IT work of Carnival at the end of this business model will be conducted mostly by Indians in India with a wage that is repugnant and working conditions that are unacceptable and not permitted in the United States… As a result, American lives are destroyed and families will have a very different Christmas holiday than expected.”
Carnival denied Blackwell’s claim that the jobs will be going to foreign workers, yet Blackwell maintains that American employees:
…are being pressured to sign a document that says they will work for Capgemini, the outsourcing company that is offshoring the work and the company that needs their assistance to train the foreign workers for the offshoring of the jobs to be successful. This document must be signed by December 19th or the workers lose their jobs at Carnival and they do not have any opportunity for the extra months of work with Capgemini. The timing of this required decision is only six days prior to the Christmas holiday. That is an extra nail in the coffin for the hard working American worker and their families.
Breitbart News obtained an exclusive copy of company documents issued to its “transitioning employees.”
One document, titled “Frequently Asked Questions for Carnival Corporation Transitioning Employees,” details how the workers will have to “assist with knowledge transfer activities.”
“Knowledge Transfer” is generally the term used when U.S. workers are forced to train their replacements. Howard University professor Ron Hira has explained that the euphemism would be more accurate if it were called “knowledge extraction.”
The document also informed employees that “If you do not accept the job offer from Capgemini you will not receive severance.”
This is not the first time Carnival has been in the news for alleged ties to expansive guest worker programs.
A CNN report from January of this year documented how Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2013 Gang of Eight bill, which would have substantially increased the importation of foreign workers, included provisions that would, in particular, benefit cruise line operations. The report noted that Rubio’s chief negotiator for the bill was a corporate attorney who had previously represented the Carnival Corporation. According to Open Secrets, Carnival Corp was one of the top 50 contributors to Rubio’s campaign committee between 2009 and 2014.
Throughout his presidential campaign, President-elect Trump was able to distinguish himself from his competitors with his opposition to visa policies that would exacerbate the displacement of American workers.
Indeed, protecting American workers from visa “job theft” helped propel Trump to victory in both the general election and the Republican primary—where he attacked Rubio mercilessly as a “puppet” for enthusiastically championing expansionist immigration policies favored by his corporate donors.
In particular, Trump won the high-profile endorsements of some of Rubio’s own Florida constituents, former Disney IT workers who had been laid off by Disney by the hundreds and were forced to train their foreign replacements just before the holiday season in 2014.
“Americans are losing our jobs to foreigners and politicians are supporting and/or promoting this behavior,” said Deena Moore, a former Disney worker and Trump supporter, as she spoke at one of Trump’s Florida rallies ahead of the state’s primary. “I believe Mr. Trump is for Americans first and foremost. He shares our vision, our dreams, and will fight for our futures… here’s my mantra: stand up for Americans, stand up with a champion, stand up with Trump.”
Moore denounced Rubio as a “great disappointment” who “sabotaged Americans” through his support for corporate-backed legislation that would increase the guest worker visa programs. “Rubio’s staff said in 2013 explaining the [guest worker expansions in Gang of Eight] bill ‘American workers can’t cut it.’ Shame on you Marco Rubio,” Moore said at the time.
The messaging of Trump’s campaign on this issue helped him crush the young Florida senator in the state’s primary election by a massive double-digit margin—making Rubio’s loss one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of U.S. electoral politics.
Yet despite the role this issue played in Trump’s electoral success, new reports indicate that open borders corporatists want to convince Trump to abandon his winning message on pro-American worker immigration controls.
In a piece titled “How Cisco’s CEO plans to convince Trump to import more immigrants for US tech jobs,” Business Insider reports that Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, whose company is reportedly one of the top 100 users of H-1B visas in the country, believes he can make the case for importing more foreign graduates to compete with American graduates for U.S. jobs.
Advocates for American wage earners have also expressed concern that Trump’s winning message on immigration controls may be co-opted by those being installed in key positions of his administration, such as Andy Puzder, who was recently tapped to be Trump’s Secretary of Labor– or by allowing mass migration enthusiast Congressman Paul Ryan to remain House Speaker.
Puzder, who has previously suggested that he prefers foreign laborers to native-born American workers, had previously been supportive of expansionist immigration policies. As immigration attorney Ian Smith has explained, Puzder has backed immigration proposals that would “have brought in millions of semi-skilled foreign guest-workers over the years, replacing our own professionals and crowding out our own graduates.”
In 2015, Puzder also joined forces with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s open borders lobbying firm, which advocates for legislation that would increase the importation of foreign workers. As the Center for Immigration Studes’ Mark Krikorian has explained, as Labor Secretary, Puzder would have a major role in regulating the admission of guest workers as well as helping ICE with worksite enforcement: “Labor is central to the process of certifying and importing all the various categories of guestworkers that undermine the bargaining power of American workers—H1-Bs for the tech industry, H-2As for agriculture, H-2Bs for non-ag cheap-labor employers, and more.”
Following a Breitbart report detailing Puzder’s record of support for importing foreign workers, Puzder issued a statement pledging to “fiercely defend American workers.”
“I will not provide guest worker visas to companies that break the rules, and will support reforms to raise wages for Americans,” Puzder wrote, adding that it would be his “moral and constitutional duty” as Labor Secretary to serve U.S. citizen workers and help communities with high unemployment that “benefit the most from clamping down on guest worker programs that compete against them.”
Perhaps less significantly, President-elect Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum is also stacked with CEOs who have a history of supporting increased foreign worker admissions, including Disney’s Bob Iger, who had supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and who oversaw the firing and replacement of the hundreds of American tech workers in late 2014.
The tension between Trump’s pro-American worker immigration platform and the desires of party elites, who support the donor class’s open borders agenda, may receive a national spotlight in the coming months—as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “The business and populist wings of the Republican Party” are set for a divisive battle over the nation’s system of legal immigration.
The report notes that the issue of visa dispensations, like the issue of trade, is set to divide “the party’s business interests, represented by leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Speaker John Boehner, [who] have backed higher visa totals” from the populist wing of the party, represented by Donald Trump and his supporters, who want to protect American jobs and wages from unfair competition.
12/2/2016 1:35:37 AM
Universities Fasttrack Foreign Students to US Jobs
Universities Fast-track Foreign Students into 147,000 White-Collar U.S. Jobs
U.S. universities are rapidly increasing the number of fee-paying foreign students who are being fast-tracked into the professional jobs sought by American graduates.
by Justin Hagen, conservativedailyreview.com
In 2009, the universities helped 67,804 foreign graduates get white-collar jobs under the little-known Optional Practical Training program, which allows foreigners to get professional-grade jobs inside the United States for at least three years.By 2016, the universities worked with companies to get at least 147,498 foreign student customers into the white-collar jobs, according to the Institute of International Education, a New York-based group run by trustees from industry, education and Wall Street.
The OPT outsourcing program is great for the foreign students because it gets them a U.S. job for three years, and puts them on a track to win extremely valuable Green Cards and citizenship. It is great for employers because many OPT employees work for low salaries in the hope of eventually getting Green Cards — and also because the OPT employees are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes, unlike American employees.
The OPT system is also great for universities and colleges because it brings in more student customers from overseas, whose tuition fees greatly exceed the paperwork costs paid by universities to run the OPT program. That’s a big financial benefit for universities.
But the OPT guest-worker program is bad for the many ordinary American graduates who are being shut out of more than 100,000 jobs — and who also face increased lifetime competition from imported, lower-wage foreign professionals. Also, many U.S. graduates have difficulty in paying off their accumulated debt of $1.23 trillion.
Joseph Palos, a high-tech graduate from Cornell University, formally objected to the OPT program in 2015. ”Companies don’t want to hire Americans and they abuse… OPT to hire cheap immobile labor instead of hiring anyone over the age of 35, especially in software or tech areas,” he wrote to a federal agency, according to a report in ComputerWorld.
That’s a challenge for President-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned against work visas — such as the H-1B visa — that disadvantage Americans. “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said in a March 2016 statement. “No exceptions,” he added.
The scale of the OPT outsourcing program is unclear — but it is certainly huge.
For comparison, the 147,498 foreigners now employed in the OPT program add up to three times the 51,000 Americans who graduated with information technology jobs in 2015, according to federal data. The number of resident foreign OPT professionals is also five times the 29,000 Americans who graduated with science degrees in 2015, and 40 percent more than the 108,000 Americans who graduates with engineering degrees.
The OPT number is expected to sharply rise in 2017 and later because President Barack Obama expanded the program to allow foreign students to work up to 24 months instead of 12 months. Also, foreign graduates from so-called “STEM” degrees — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — can work for an additional 12 months, or a total of three years.
The federal government defines STEM very broadly, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
OPT STEM graduates, says the DHS, can work in “dairy science… horticultural science… environmental studies … natural resources conservation … urban forestry … artificial intelligence … computer graphics … solar energy … naval science … cyber/electronic operations and warfare … stealth technology … undersea warfare … nutrition sciences … sustainability studies … child psychology … archaeology … medical science … veterinary physiology … business statistics … management science.”
The OPT program also allows companies to hire technicians who are not eligible for other visas, such as the H-1B visa for university graduates. That means community colleges can advertise their two-year degrees in China and India, knowing their foreign students will pay high tuition fees to win good jobs in the United States. The DHS list of STEM jobs for OPT employees includes more than 50 types of technical jobs, including “electrical, electronic… Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering Technology/Technician … solar energy … welding … industrial production … quality control … automotive engineering … nuclear engineering … [and] biology.”
For example, Hostos Community College in New York recruits students with offers of OPT jobs. The college is part of the CUNY network. Others examples include Glendale Community College in California, Houston Community College in Texas, and Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s an OPT–based recruitment video from Shoreline Community College, near Seattle, Wash., featuring a Japanese student who wants to become a U.S. policeman.
Universities, such as James Madison University in Virginia, love the OPT program because it allows them to effectively sell U.S. work-permits to foreign students, and to rent foreign students to companies. “We are very supportive of giving international students more opportunities because they are our alums, they are our graduates, they are the ones that are going to get better jobs because the companies are going to see that there’s more longitude to it,” said Adria Baker, the director of Rice University’s office for international students. “The companies are depending on these students. They hire them because they are the best people for that field,” she said.
Foreign students openly say they pay tuition to American universities because they also get work permits. “The primary reason I chose the U.S. was exactly that it offers better opportunities than other countries, whose immigration policies may be stricter,” Maggie Tang, a 2015 graduate of Rice, told the university newspaper. “I knew I had a chance to stay here and work, to earn back some of that tuition and gain experience,” she said.
University lobbyists have also pushed for the legal right to provide Green Cards — and a path to citizenship — directly to their paying customers. This dramatic proposal was endorsed in Obama’s 2013 “comprehensive immigration reform” bill that passed the Democratic-run Senate, but which was stopped by the GOP-run House in 2014. In 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton backed this proposal, which would have slashed middle-class salaries by flooding the nation’s white-collar labor market with foreign professionals.
The OPT program is one of several visa programs that allow foreign graduates to take jobs sought by U.S. college graduates.
For example, the H-1B visa program gives U.S. white-collar jobs to roughly 650,000 foreign graduates, and the L-1 visa program is being used by a few hundred thousand foreign white-collar graduates to work in the United States. Overall, the population of foreign college graduates working in the United States exceeds 1 million — and exceeds the annual number of young Americans who graduate with four-year degrees in technology, business or healthcare.
The H-1B jobs are mostly in the information technology business, but they also include many prestigious jobs in accounting, engineering, academia, government agencies, and in healthcare, both on the coasts and in the heartland of the country. Many universities, include Rice University, have hired roughly 100,000 foreign graduates via the H-1B visa program as low-salary professors, doctors, therapists, and scientists.
On Jan. 17, three days before he leaves office, Obama is expected to release a set of regulations that will further expand the H-1B program.
There is little information about what jobs are being given to foreign graduates via the OPT program. But many seem to be starter jobs in the information technology sector which are needed by Americans graduates to pay their debts and to advances in their career field.
Some of the jobs are given to the the foreign graduates via a semi-hidden jobs market for “freshers.” That’s an Indian term for new graduates, so a quick search of online job sites for “freshers” shows companies which are eager to hire foreigners via the OPT program. Specialized websites for job-seeking OPT graduates exist. Also, there’s some evidence that many OPT workers are hired by their co-nationals living in the United States, without Americans being allowed to apply for the jobs.
U.S. officials have acted to exclude some foreign students and shut down a cheap university that let foreign students work in Silicon Valley in exchange for tuition payments.
The OPT program began in 1979 with only 2,840 OPT workers. It climbed to 7,712 jobs in 1989, to 25,857 jobs in 1999, to 66,601 jobs in 2009, and to 147,498 jobs in 2016, according to the Institute of International Education.
The programs’s growth is also accelerating. It grew by 11,000 jobs from 2013 to 2014, by almost 15,000 jobs from 2014 to 2015, and by 27,211 jobs from 2015 to 2016.
That figure went up 22.6 percent from 2015 to 2016.
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12/2/2016 1:26:23 AM
Obama: Even More Foreign Workers for US STEM Jobs
Last-Minute Regulation Creates More Foreign STEM Job Competition
Thu, Dec 1st 2016 @ 5:54 pm EST
Breitbart’s Neil Munro reports a last-minute Obama Administration regulation will create more foreign job competition for American workers specializing in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. It would: automatically extend the work permits of H-1B guest workers while they seek permanent employment-based green cards; increase their job portability; and create a new method for non-profits to hire H-1B workers by partnering with universities. And for foreign students who work under the Optional Training Program (OPT), the regulation would extend the length of their work permits so they can seek a H-1B slot.
Under current law, H-1B visas last for three years but can be renewed for another three. The number is capped at 65,000 per year -- with quotas placed on workers from certain countries -- plus 20,000 for those with advanced degrees, irrespective of the per-country cap. But institutions of higher education (including their hospitals) and government agencies are exempt from the cap and can import an unlimited number of H-1B workers. Under the OPT program foreign students, after graduation from U.S. universities, can work for 12 months and seek a 24-month extension.
No one knows the total population of H-1B visa holders currently working in the United States since the Department of Homeland Security only publishes information on the 85,000 new recipients each year. Breitbart cites estimates of “roughly 650,000 six-year H-1B professionals, plus several hundred thousand additional foreign college graduates holding L-1, B-1 or NAFTA visas, plus at least 120,000 foreign graduates in the expanded OPT program.”
These workers are coveted by companies, universities and government agencies because they can be hired at much lower wages than American workers and college graduates, and the jobs do not have to be offered to Americans first. This regulation makes H-1B visa holders even more attractive because it allows them to continue working indefinitely instead of having to return home and wait for a green card. It allows visa holders to get a job earlier than the law provides and to change jobs. And it allows their spouses and children with “compelling circumstances” to find jobs. The regulation, if effect, maximizes flexibility for employers and visa holders at the expense of American workers and graduates.
The regulation, which takes effect on January 17, 2017, poses a challenge for President-Elect Trump who promised to “end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.” He can immediately overturn President Obama’s executive orders and policies but regulations must be terminated through a lengthy notice-and-comment rulemaking. However, he can set a lower priority for the processing of such visas. This is what Obama did when he prioritized the processing of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants over all other immigration beneficiaries.
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12/2/2016 1:07:11 AM
IG: Foreign Worker Program Prone To Massive Fraud
Foreign Worker Program Prone To Massive Fraud: Inspector General
By TD AMERITRADE
Foreign Worker Program – H1B program has serious issues says Government Inspector
As Donald Trump prepares to reform what he says is a broken immigration system, a new federal report highlights how a visa program for highly-skilled workers is prone to fraud and abuse.
The Department of Labor (DOL) allows employers to temporarily hire skilled foreign workers through the H-1B visa program. It is specifically designed to fill positions in specialty occupations. The DOL Office of Inspector General (OIG) warned in a semiannual report to lawmakers that the program is prone to significant fraud and abuse.
“OIG investigations have shown the H-1B program to be susceptible to significant fraud and abuse, particularly by dishonest immigration attorneys, labor brokers, employers, and organized criminal enterprises,” the report stated. “Our investigations have revealed schemes in which fraudulent applications were filed with DOL on behalf of fictitious companies and individuals, and unscrupulous businesses seeking to acquire foreign workers.”The OIG adds that the program has been a point of concern since the 1990s. The report points primarily at a statutory requirement that states the department must approve applications unless they are incomplete or obviously inaccurate. The report suggests the department be given more authority in reviewing applications.
“[DOL] must have the statutory authority to ensure the integrity of that process, including the ability to verify the accuracy of information provided on labor condition applications,” the report stated. “Currently, the Department is statutorily required to certify such applications unless it determines them to be ‘incomplete or obviously inaccurate.’”
The OIG released the semiannual report to inform congressional lawmakers on a range of department issues. It covered management of funds, program reviews and investigations into union racketeering and employer abuse. It offered several suggestions on how lawmakers could improve how the department operates.
The H-1B program and some other visas were implemented under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Visa programs cover a range of labor market needs from agricultural workers to high-skilled employment. The H-1B program covers skilled sectors like biotechnology, engineering, healthcare and law, among others.
The program is intended to serve employers who cannot find skilled domestic workers. The government relies on accurate information from employers to uphold that requirement. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, however, has urged reform of the law to better protect domestic workers.
“Most people believe that employers are supposed to recruit Americans before they petition for an H-1B worker,” Grassley stated in May 2015. “Yet, under the law, most employers are not required to prove to the Department of Labor that they tried to find an American to fill the job first.”
The Government Accountability Office published a report in 2011 citing similar concerns regarding the DOL and the Department of Homeland Security. The report noted that oversight of the visa program by the agencies was fragmented and restricted.
The DOL did not respond to a request for comment by InsideSources.
Foreign Worker Program Article by Connor D. Wolf, Inside Sources
11/29/2016 10:54:35 AM
Obama Expanding H-1B Outsourcing
Obama Challenges Donald Trump by Expanding H-1B Outsourcing Program
by Neil Munro, breitbart.com, 28 Nov 20160
Obama’s expansion of the H-1B outsourcing program would take effect just three days before he leaves the White House. It can be seen as a direct challenge to incoming President Donald Trump, who promised to reform the H-1B program.“I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said in a March 2016 statement. “No exceptions,” he added. Obama’s new regulation would increase the annual inflow of H-1B professionals, and also allow more foreign professionals to get the permanent Green Cards that allow them to stay in the United States and eventually, to get citizenship for themselves and their family. The new regulation also benefits employers because it ensures more competition for jobs in business, academia, science, healthcare, technology, design and the media.
“This is an attempt to rewrite the Green Card [immigration] system through regulation,” said John Miano, an attorney who represents American workers hit by H-1B outsourcing. “The effect is to make an even bigger hash of the problems we have now,” he told Breitbart News.
Companies, universities and government agencies currently employ a population of more than 1 million foreign white-collar “guest workers,” who are usually hired without any chance for Americans to apply for the U.S. jobs.
These foreign professionals are not immigrants, but are temporary workers slated to return home to Europe, India, China or elsewhere after six or seven years. The population includes roughly 650,000 six-year H-1B professionals, plus several hundred thousand additional foreign college graduates holding L-1, B-1 or NAFTA visas, plus at least 120,000 foreign graduates in the expanded OPT program.
These foreign graduates are eager to take U.S. jobs, even at very low salaries, partly because the U.S. government supplements their salaries with the chance to win the very valuable reward of U.S. citizenship for themselves, their children, siblings and parents. That taxpayer-funded supplement allows companies to hire foreign workers for much less money than requested by young debt-burdened American graduates. The hidden subsidy for foreign graduates makes it difficult for American graduates to compete against foreign graduates for many jobs that don’t require direct cooperation with customers.
Obama’s pending regulation is beneficial, according to the regulation, because it encourages “skilled nonimmigrant workers contributing to the economy to continue seeking LPR [Green Card] status … Allows [foreign] dependents to enter labor market earlier and contribute to [guest workers’s] household income … [and] may expand the numbers of [Green Card] petitioners that are cap exempt and thus allow certain employers greater access to H-1B workers,” says the new regulation, which was drafted by the Department of Homeland Security, which runs much of the H-1B program.
“DHS has made an effort to provide additional flexibilities to as many high-skilled foreign workers as possible,” said the regulation, which downplays the concerns of Americans professionals. “Employer demand for immigrant visas has increasingly outpaced supply in some categories and for some nationalities, resulting in growing waits for some sponsored employees to obtain their LPR [green Card] status … [resulting] in substantial inequalities and other hardships” for the foreign workers, says the DHS regulation.
The regulation also helps foreign professionals to change jobs, and it allows H-1B professionals to stay longer than six years.
The regulation dismisses public concerns about the impact of foreign workers on Americans’ wages, and downplays the regulation’s impact on Americans’ access to good jobs. “DHS estimates in the [regulation’s notes] that there will be about 92,600 dependent spouses and children that may be eligible for [one new feature, the] compelling circumstances employment authorization in the first year (the year with the largest number of eligible applicants) which represents approximately 0.06 percent of the overall U.S. civilian labor force,” according to the regulation.
Currently, at least 100,000 new H-1B workers arrive each year, and many thousands more get permanent Green Cards.
On paper, there is an annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas allowed for companies. But many companies get around the limit by working with non-profits who are allowed to import as many H-1B workers as they wish. The “cap exempt” loophole for non-profits means that universities, colleges and their affiliated hospitals and allied companies now employ roughly 100,000 H-1B professionals instead of 100,000 American professors, doctors, therapists and scientists.
The new regulation expands the “cap exempt” category by making it easier for companies to partner with non-profits, such as a university, and it allows state-run research agencies to hire an unlimited number of H-1Bs on behalf of local companies.
By getting the regulation established on Jan. 17, three days before Trump is inaugurated, trump’s deputies will be forced to go through a lengthy process to reverse the H-1B expansion. “The Trump administration would need to engage in full notice-and-comment rulemaking to do so, an effort that would take time and may not be a focus of the new administration given the president-elect’s other immigration priorities,” said Justin Storch, a manager at the Council for Global Immigration.
Although industry lobbying and media coverage of the H-1B program is focused on Silicon Valley’s outsourcing, the guest-workers are employed at many tasks by many famous companies, including Caterpillar, McDonalds and CVS and at many little-known outsourcing companies.
For example, the federal government approved requests for 7,865 H-1B visas for healthcare jobs in 2015, including almost 700 therapists and 207 pharmacists, according to the MyVisaJobs.com website. Most of these requests were from non-profit operations, such as university hospitals and government agencies.
The foreign professionals are also employed at federal laboratories.
The resident population of H-1B foreign professionals is roughly equal to the number of Americans who graduate from college with skilled degrees each year. In 2014, for example 358,000 Americans earned business degrees, 51,000 got degrees Information Technology degrees, 108,000 became engineers, 199,000 got health-related degrees, 21,000 got degrees in math or statistics, and 29,000 earned science degrees. That’s almost 800,000 new graduates, or roughly eight Americans for every six jobs held by a H-1B foreign professional.
Many of the H-1B workers get Green Cards once their employees start the bureaucratic process. That process sharply increases the resident population of of foreign-born professionals in the United States, so helping hold down Americans’ salaries across the economy. In Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, for example, the current population of up to 40,000 H-1B employees is augmented by roughly 75,000 foreign professionals who have gotten Green Cards via their employers since 1990.
The inflow of extra white-collar temporary workers is being accompanied by a sharp increase in the numbers of unskilled migrants seeking blue-collar jobs sought by Americans. Since late 2012, for example, Obama has provided work permits, or school slots, to perhaps 300,000 migrants from Central America. If allowed to stay, those migrants will cost Americans roughly $200 billion in taxpayer funds over the next 75 years.
In the first half of 2015, Obama also allowed more than 900,000 legal immigrants in the country. That mass immigration delivered almost 1 new immigrant to the labor market for every two young Americans who begin looking for work in 2015, or one new immigrant for every two American children born that year.
The 2015 inflow of almost 2 million immigrants, plus the 1 million blue-collar and white-collar guest-workers, added up to three new foreigners for every four Americans who enter the workforce.
In general, the huge inflow of immigrants and guest-workers aids CEOs and investors by lowering the price of labor, so boosting profits. This transfer shifts roughly $500 billion per year from Americans’ paychecks up to managers’ and investors’ accounts, according to George Borjas, a Harvard economist.
However, Trump’s reform plan could largely eliminate the wage-cutting impact of the H-1B programs. In August 2015, for example, he issued a reform plan saying:
We graduate two times more Americans with STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant, instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.
Since 2009, Obama has grown the number of guest-workers in the United States, partly by allowing the spouses of temporary workers to work in the United States. In 2013, Obama also pushed a “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” that would have allowed an unlimited number of foreign graduates to get work permits in the United States by first paying tuition fees to U.S. universities. That “staple” plan was derailed in 2014 by voters eager to reduce annual immigration, and then blown up in 2014 by GOP primary votes in the Seventh District of Virginia, who ejected the GOP’s Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor. In the 2016 campaign, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton supported a similar plan to “staple” work permits to postgraduate degrees.
So, far, however, Trump has not chosen a person to run the Departments of Labor or the Department of Homeland Security, which manage the H-1B and other guest-worker programs.
Trump is also facing opposition from business groups and their GOP allies who strongly back the guest-worker programs, which bring in roughly 1 million foreign blue-collar and white-collar workers each year.
For example, in 2late 2015, House Speaker Paul Ryan effectively quadrupled the size of the H-2B program, which brings in 66,000 blue-collar workers for jobs in the landscaping, hotel, vacation and forestry businesses each year. Some of those workers are also used to replace Americans in high-wage construction jobs. that expansion expires in December, unless Ryan extends the H-2B expansion.
Overall, Trump’s immigration reform plans are expected to open up jobs to young Americans and to nudge up Americas’ salaries, according to a Wall Street study.
Read the new regulation here.
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10/24/2016 12:42:23 PM
Silicon Valley Pushes Immigration for Own Purpose
Silicon Valley Pushes for Immigration Reform for Its Own Purposes
By Bryant Walker Smith. NY Times. October 24, 2016
Tech companies are currently driving the biggest lobbying efforts on immigration reform, mostly so they can expand the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers.
The possibility that the H-1B program speeds up innovation and increases productivity is used to argue for its expansion. Bill Gates, for example, claims that Microsoft creates four new jobs, ostensibly for citizens, for each H-1B immigrant hired.
Is the H-1B visa program that brings in high-skilled immigrant workers benefiting the American people? The evidence is mixed.
But there is an obvious self-interest for high-tech tycoons — more programmers reduce wages and increase profits — so it’s wise to ignore their promises and look at what the data actually say about the benefits for the American people, especially in a time when immigration reform is in such a heated debate. Unfortunately, the evidence is mixed.
The conclusion that Americans are better off with more H-1B workers comes from studies showing higher levels of innovation in cities that host many H-1B immigrants. But sometimes the results are not credible.
The correlation reported in a well-known study, for instance, suggests that if Congress would just print another 15 million visas, the wage of U.S.-born college graduates would nearly double! One must have a financial stake in the H-1B program or be very gullible to take such a “finding” seriously.
The most persuasive evaluation of the program examines a peculiar lottery. Firms can apply for visas on a first-come, first-served basis until the visas run out. On some random day, the visas run out and on that day more firms typically apply than there are visas available. A lottery determines the lucky winners. It turns out that the firms that won the lottery do not patent more, and that each H-1B visa crowds out one native worker. This evidence is far more consistent with the flood of news reports documenting how employers abuse the program and force the displaced natives to train their foreign-born replacements.
Despite the contradictory evidence, there is a sensible way to proceed. Some native workers undoubtedly lose. But let’s take Bill Gates at face value. If Microsoft really creates so many new jobs, Microsoft is profiting substantially and should be willing to pay many thousands of dollars for each visa. Let’s use those funds to compensate and retrain the affected workers. Actions speak louder than words: Would the high-tech tycoons actually be willing to pay substantial amounts for those permits?
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10/19/2016 12:32:44 AM
Open borders ‘dream’ is nightmare for workers
Hillary’s open borders ‘dream’ is a nightmare for workers
By Betsy McCaughey, nypost.com
Immigration will take center stage Wednesday night at the final Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate. Clinton dreams of “open borders.” Count on her to yank on your heartstrings. But workers who are losing their jobs to newcomers from other countries know first-hand the danger of increasing immigration.
Trump’s challenge will be to convince voters that putting American workers first is not racist or xenophobic. It’s simple economics. Hillary’s “dream” of open borders is a nightmare for wage-earners.
Do the math: In the last 12 months, jobs held by immigrants have increased five times as fast as those held by US-born workers. The American labor force is being displaced at a rapid pace.
To add insult to injury, some pink-slipped workers are being forced to train low-wage replacements after they’ve been fired. Last year, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., fired 250 tech workers and then demanded they spend their final weeks on the job teaching their replacements from India.
Clinton promises to protect American jobs. Don’t count on it. Hillary’s “private position” on open borders — her secret dream of unlimited immigration — is one of the bombshell revelations in the recent WikiLeaks disclosure of her paid speeches.
Now it’s clear why she refused to disclose these speeches when Bernie Sanders demanded them.
Sanders smelled a rat during the primary season, when Hillary courted labor with assurances she’d preserve their jobs. He warned that her globalist views would allow wealthy corporations “to bring in all kinds of people [who] work” for low pay and “would make everybody in America poorer.” He did the math and saw that it’s already happening.
Since November 2007, jobs belonging to native-born workers have declined by 1.5 million, while jobs held by immigrants (legal and illegal) have grown by 2 million. In the last year alone, employment by native-born American workers inched up a meager 1 percent. Immigrant employment shot up 5 percent.
Some economists point to Adam Smith’s long-held theory that the invisible hand of the global market place should allow labor and raw materials to move wherever they will be used to maximum benefit. In short, open borders and free trade. That’s the theory.
But in the United States, Smith’s invisible hand is smacking labor upside the head.
A steady stream of newly arriving workers keeps wages down in industries like buildings-and-grounds maintenance and food preparation and serving. That benefits business owners and consumers, but the data show it depresses the standard of living of wage earners in these industries — the people mowing lawns, packaging frozen foods and serving burgers.
As Harvard economist George Borjas shows, it also hurts immigrants already here who are struggling to make it.
Hillary has declared income inequality Public Enemy No 1. She’s campaigning to raise the federal minimum wage. That’s two-faced, so long as she allows immigration to drive down wages of disadvantaged minorities, including high-school dropouts and people with limited English skills.
Mid-level computer workers and skilled technicians are also getting slammed by an influx of foreign workers brought here expressly to undercut their salaries.
US law allows companies to evade immigration limits and bring in foreign workers under H-1B visas to fill jobs as long as it doesn’t “adversely affect” conditions for US workers. But as one laid off Disney worker said, “Was I negatively affected? Yeah, I was. I lost my job.”
During the Republican primaries, Donald Trump attacked these special visas and pledged, “If I am president, I will not issue any H-1B visas.” Trump’s not entirely innocent — he used similar immigration loopholes to staff his resorts. But he says what he did as a businessman and what he’ll do as president are different.
Meanwhile, tech firms like Facebook and Apple are pushing for more — not fewer — H-1B visas and looser immigration laws. Tech moguls are shoveling millions into Clinton’s campaign. And remember: Money talks, especially with the Clintons.
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
10/13/2016 8:34:30 AM
Tech Boom Has a Downside: Not Enough Jobs
America’s Dazzling Tech Boom Has a Downside: Not Enough Jobs
The Great Unraveling
By Jon Hilsenrath and Bob Davis, WSJ.com
The discontent driving Donald Trump’s campaign stems partly from the dashed employment promises of the late 1990s; $7-an-hour robots
The technology revolution has delivered Google searches, Facebook friends, iPhone apps, Twitter rants and shopping for almost anything on Amazon, all in the past decade and a half.
What it hasn’t delivered are many jobs. Google’s Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. had at the end of last year a total of 74,505 employees, about one-third fewer than Microsoft Corp. even though their combined stock-market value is twice as big. Photo-sharing service Instagram had 13 employees when it was acquired for $1 billion by Facebook in 2012.
Hiring in the computer and chip sectors dove after companies shifted hardware production outside the U.S., and the newest tech giants needed relatively few workers. The number of technology startups fizzled. Growth in productivity and wages slowed, and income inequality rose as machines replaced routine, low- and middle-income, human-powered work.
Technology Booms, But Not For American Workers After rising in the 1990s, employment at computer and electronic firms has fallen by more than 40%, though a smaller number of jobs has been created in other tech sectors.
Apple Inc. followed a similar path. Co-founder Steve Jobs made it a mission early in his Apple career and after creating NeXT Inc., another computer maker, to revitalize U.S. manufacturing. Macintosh computers rolled off the line at an Apple factory “like a Holiday Inn toaster turns out toasted bagels,” says Brent Schlender, who co-wrote a biography of Mr. Jobs.
By the time Mr. Jobs died in 2011, Apple made nearly every one of its products outside America, largely in Asia. Apple halted U.S. manufacturing in 2004 and didn’t resume until 2013, when it began producing Mac Pro personal computers in Austin, Texas.
Apple says it employs about 80,000 workers in the U.S., or two-thirds of the company’s overall workforce. About half the U.S. employees have retail jobs.
An Apple spokeswoman says it is “creating jobs in new industries like the App Economy,” or apps developed for the iPhone, and is “a major contributor to U.S. manufacturing” by buying American-made components and materials.
Mr. Schlender, the Jobs biographer, says it made sense to assemble the iPod outside the U.S. when production began in 2001. “The components were hard to make, and putting them together was a labor-intensive job because everything was so small,” he says. “You had to piece it together by hand.”
The computer-hardware exodus spread. International Business Machines Corp. , the company that turned computers into a big business, was born in Endicott, N.Y., and built its first factories there.
From 2001 to 2015, though, employment in computer and electronics manufacturing in surrounding Broome County fell about two-thirds to 3,055 jobs. Warehouses and transportation companies scooped up some laid-off workers at salaries of less than half those paid in high-tech manufacturing, says Christian Harris, an analyst for the New York State Department of Labor.
American tech workers are getting a smaller piece of the economic pie created from what they produce. As of 2014, employee compensation in computer and electronic-parts making was equal to 49% of the value of the industry’s output, down from 79% in 1999, according to the Commerce Department.
While other tech jobs have been created in sectors such as software publishing, that growth is smaller than the losses in tech manufacturing.
Since 2002, the number of technology startups has slowed, hurting job creation. In a 2014 study, economists Javier Miranda, John Haltiwanger and Ian Hathaway said the growth of tech startups accelerated to 113,000 in 2001 from 64,000 in 1992.
That number slumped to 79,000 in 2011 and hasn’t recovered, according to the economists’ calculations using updated data. The causes include global competition and increased domestic regulation, says Mr. Haltiwanger, an economics professor at the University of Maryland.
Another problem is that fewer tech companies have gone public, which can enrich early employees and spawn more jobs as companies grow.
Jay Ritter, a professor at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, says there were 548 initial public offerings of technology-related companies from 2001 to 2015. From 1990 to 2000, by contrast, 1,853 went public.
The latest generation of hot tech startups has attracted a mountain of venture-capital funding and gigantic valuations, led by Uber Technologies Inc., which was worth $68 billion as of June.
The influx of wealth has created more prosperity in Silicon Valley but exemplifies the economic polarization rippling through America.
WhatsApp had more than 450 million users world-wide when Facebook bought the messaging service for $19 billion in 2014, turning founder Jan Koum into a billionaire several times over. At the time of the acquisition, WhatsApp had 55 employees.
Economists call the phenomenon “skill-biased technical change.” The spoils of growth go to those few people with skills and luck and who are best positioned to take advantage of new technology.
The five largest U.S.-based technology companies by stock-market value—Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Oracle Corp. —are worth a combined $1.8 trillion today. That is 80% more than the five largest tech companies in 2000.
Today’s five giants have 22% fewer workers than their predecessors, or a total of 434,505 as of last year, compared with 556,523 at Cisco Systems Inc., Intel, IBM, Oracle and Microsoft in 2000.
Amazon uses 45,000 small robots at about one-third of its U.S. warehouses to automate order processing. The robots look like bread boxes on wheels, lifting modular shelves stuffed with products and carrying the shelves to workers who pick out pieces.
An Amazon spokesman says the company has added about 200,000 employees since it began using the robots in early 2012. Amazon has 268,000 employees world-wide.
Robots aren’t dexterous enough yet to identify different sized-packages, pick the right ones and place them safely in boxes, says Mr. Brynjolfsson, the MIT economist. That is the fundamental skill in warehousing. Researchers now are trying to automate that part of the job, too.
In coming decades, machines are likely to replace new forms of routine work done by humans. From 1991 to 2001, the number of secretaries declined about 35%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of textile and apparel workers fell 37%.
For a long time, those with bachelor’s degrees in science seemed to be safe from automation-related layoffs because their cognitive knowledge was tough for computers to duplicate. Less-educated workers who dispense personal service, such as home health aides or masseuses, also seemed safe.
Harvard University economist David Deming estimates that the hollowing-out of work spread to programmers, librarians and engineers between 2000 and 2012. As much as $2 trillion worth of human economic activity could be automated away using existing technologies, such as Amazon’s robots, in coming years, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. estimates.
Knightscope Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., makes robots that serve as night watchmen. About three dozen are on patrol, including at shopping malls, corporate campuses such as Microsoft’s in Mountain View and the new home arena of the Sacramento Kings. Knightscope clients pay $7 an hour per robot.
“Robots don’t complain,” says Stacy Stephens, a Knightscope co-founder and vice president of marketing and sales. “There’s no pension. And there’s no worker’s comp,” he adds.
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10/11/2016 9:09:47 AM
Debt & Rent Slaves Blamed for Lousy Economy
These Debt & Rent Slaves Get Blamed for the Lousy Economy
by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street.com, October 10, 2016
Over the past few days, the Diamond Producers Association launched its first new ad campaign in five years after watching retail sales of diamond jewelry slow down, as Millennials built on the habit pioneered by prior generations of delaying or not even thinking about marriage, and thus not being sufficiently enthusiastic about buying diamond engagement rings.
The campaign, according to Adweek, is designed to motivate Millennials “to commemorate their ‘real,’ honest relationships with diamonds, even if marriage isn’t part of the equation.”
Mother New York, the agency behind the campaign, spent months interviewing millennials, according to Quartz, and learned that they associated diamonds with a “fairytale love story that wasn’t
relevant to them.” So the premium jewelry industry, seeing future profits at risk, needs to do something about that.
A year ago, it was Wall Street – specifically Goldman Sachs – that did a lot of hand-wringing about millennials. “They don’t trust the stock market,” Goldman Sachs determined in a survey. Only 18% thought that the stock market was “the best way to save for the future.”
It’s a big deal for Wall Street because millennials are now the largest US generation. There are 75 million of them. They’re supposed to be the future source of big bonuses. Wall Street needs to figure out how to get to their money.
The older ones have seen the market soar, collapse, re-soar, re-collapse, re-soar…. They’ve seen the Fed’s gyrations to re-inflate stocks. They grew up with scandals and manipulations, high-frequency trading, dark pools, and spoofing. They’ve seen hard-working people get wiped out and wealthy people get bailed out. Maybe they’d rather not mess with that infernal machine.
And today, the Los Angeles Times added more fuel. “They’re known for bouncing around jobs, delaying marriage, and holing up in their parents’ basements,” it mused.
Everyone wants to know why millennials don’t follow the script. Brick-and-mortar retailers have been complaining about them for years, with increasing intensity, and a slew of specialty chains have gone bankrupt, a true fiasco for the industry, even as online retailers are laughing all the way to the bank.
“For starters, millennials are not big spenders, at least not in the traditional sense,” the Times said. Yet most of them spend every dime they earn, those that have decent jobs. But much of that spending goes toward their student-loan burden and housing.
Everybody somehow agrees that millennials as a group prefer “experiences” – eating out, traveling, etc. – over buying merchandise, such as jewelry, clothing, furniture, and cars, though they buy gadgets and services galore. But that “experiences” theory too is running into trouble because restaurants are slithering into a recession as sales have hit the skids recently.
So these spending habits of millennials “may not be great for a U.S. economy driven by consumer spending,” the Times points out.
But I wonder: Consumer spending includes a meal from a taco truck along with a craft brew, all made in America, same as a piece of clothing made in Bangladesh. Why would splurging on an “experience” near a taco truck be worse for the economy than buying some imported piece of merchandise? I don’t get it.
And travels? Granted, foreign travel is not good for the US economy. But other generations, too, liked and still like to travel – a lot. Some of us were gone for years. I doubt millennials are more damaging to the US economy in that department than we are.
Domestic travel is good for the economy, thought it may be less good for the environment. Every dime they spend getting there and staying there or having fun – all these “experiences” add to GDP.
But millennials have two problems prior generations didn’t have – at least not to that crazy extent:
So they rent or stay with their parents or they bunk down together, four or five of them in an apartment in places like San Francisco. Homeownership has plunged to 62.9% in the second quarter, the lowest level since the Census Bureau started tracking it in 1965:
- They’re bogged down in student loans, the result of rapacious price increases in higher education. The New York Fed estimates that total student debt from federal and private lenders has reached a record $1.3 trillion. An increasingly large part of that debt sits on top of millennials, turning them into debt slaves.
- They’re facing confiscatory rents and home prices in many cities, thanks to Fed’s effort to inflate the greatest asset bubbles the US has ever seen, though few millennials make that connection.
For millennials, the homeownership rate fell to 34%, from around 40% for young adults in prior decades, according to the Times. Given the rents they face, saving up for a down payment has become a herculean task. So forget it. But now the real estate industry is complaining about the millennials. Everyone needs new homebuyers to keep the market propped up and the commissions flowing.
And they’re risk averse and not into starting new businesses, according to the Times, which would corroborate Goldman’s lament about millennials not digging the stock market:
The rate of new start-ups is higher today than 10 or 20 years ago for every major age group — except those between 20 and 34 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s latest annual study of entrepreneurship.
Two decades ago, a little more than 34% of all new entrepreneurs in the U.S. were younger than 34 years old. Today it’s just 25%.
That’s bad news. But it’s logical: burdened by student loans and confronted with confiscatory housing costs, fewer of them have any courage or means left to deal with the extraordinary uncertainties and risks of starting a business in this environment. Given how important small and young businesses are to the economy, to jobs, to invention, to business renewal, and to the middle class, any major reluctance by millennials have in starting businesses will have an impact – or already has an impact.
Over the past three decades, the US averaged nearly 120,000 more business births than deaths per year. But between 2008 and 2011, on average 30,000 more businesses died than were born, according to the Census Bureau. That the core of the US job creation machine has been faltering is not a sign of a healthy or even a “recovering” economy.
Read… “Or We’ll Lose the Whole Middle Class”: Gallup CEO
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edited by Connelly on 10/11/2016
10/11/2016 9:08:12 AM
Or We’ll Lose the Whole Middle Class”
“Or We’ll Lose the Whole Middle Class”: Gallup CEO
By Wolf Richter, WolfStreet.com, September 20, 2016
Economic recovery, but not for the “Invisible Americans”Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO at Gallup, who presides over endless surveys of American consumers and businesses and knows a thing or two about them, has a message for the media and the political establishment that seem to be clueless: this meme about the recovering economy – “It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week,” he says – “I don’t think it’s true.”
In an article posted on Gallup’s website, he made his case:
The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.
Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.
What the media is missing is that these 25 million people are invisible in the widely reported 4.9% official U.S. unemployment rate.
Let’s say someone has a good middle-class job that pays $65,000 a year. That job goes away in a changing, disrupted world, and his new full-time job pays $14 per hour — or about $28,000 per year. That devastated American remains counted as “full-time employed” because he still has full-time work — although with drastically reduced pay and benefits. He has fallen out of the middle class and is invisible in current reporting.
And these “Invisible Americans,” as he calls them, are facing the “disastrous” emotional toll often associated with a sharp loss of household income. It hits “self-esteem and dignity,” and produces an “environment of desperation.” Even many American with good jobs and incomes are just “one degree” away from the misery of those with falling wages, or the underemployed or unemployed.
Clifton names three metrics that “need to be turned around or we’ll lose the whole middle class”:
“Free enterprise is in free fall — but it is fixable,” he says. It all depends on small businesses. They need to thrive again. They’re “our best hope” for the economy to pick up some speed. And once they’re thriving again, they can “restore the middle class”:
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the total U.S. adult population that has a full-time job has been hovering around 48% since 2010 — this is the lowest full-time employment level since 1983.
- The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs.
- New business startups are at historical lows. Americans have stopped starting businesses. And the businesses that do start are growing at historically slow rates.
Gallup finds that small businesses — startups plus “shootups,” those that grow big — are the engine of new economic energy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses, not large ones.
But small businesses as a group are not doing well. Over the past three decades, the US averaged nearly 120,000 more business births than deaths per year. But between 2008 and 2011, according to Census Bureau data, on average 420,000 businesses were born per year, while on average 450,000 died. That the core of the US job creation machine has been faltering is not a sign of a healthy or even a “recovering” economy.
Clifton’s sobering message – that a big part of American households and therefore consumers are still in serious disarray in part due to the problems small businesses are facing – appears to be getting totally lost among the media hype, including the deafening razzmatazz about the 5.2% jump in “household income,” reported last week by the Census Bureau, and widely misconstrued by the media.
This disarray is even worse, once it’s parsed, as the Census Bureau has done, by men and women. Because men’s median income, adjusted for inflation, is now lower than it had been in 1974!
Read… That 5.2% Jump in Household Income? Nope, People Aren’t Suddenly Getting Big-Fat Paychecks
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10/4/2016 9:36:57 AM
Hillary Clinton's H-1B Outsourcing Program
breitbart.com Hillary Clinton's H-1B Outsourcing Program Has 100,000 Foreign Workers in Midwest White-Collar Jobs
by Neil Munro30 Sep 20160
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Hillary Clinton has strongly backed the unpopular H-1B outsourcing program since at least 2005, even as it has gradually sent 100,000 foreign professionals into Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to compete for jobs against white-collar American professionals and young college graduates.That could be a 2016 problem for Clinton because it is a direct economic threat to one of her strongest constituencies — university educated professionals. In fact, there are so many foreign workers in those three states that there’s a semi-hidden job network to help them apply for jobs ahead of American professionals.
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The huge extra supply of foreign university labor, according to the law of supply and demand, pushes down the salaries earned by American professionals in those states. Nationwide, this so-called “immigration tax” annually transfers $500 billion away from blue-collar and white-collar Americans towards employers, Wall Street, and new immigrants, according to a Harvard analysis.
So far, Donald Trump has made only a few direct appeals to this upper income group of university voters. But those voters can provide him with the few extra points of support he needs to win those critical Midwestern states. A September 2016 poll by Monmouth University, for example, shows Trump was viewed favorably by just 29 percent of college voters. In contrast, he is viewed favorably by 51 percent of people with some college education, and by 47 percent of people with High School qualifications.
Clinton has repeatedly spoken out in favor of the unpopular outsourcing program, to audiences in the United States and to audiences in India, which provides much of the manpower for H-1B outsourcing contracts all over the country. Once elected as a New York Senator, she also helped Indian outsourcing companies grab more jobs in the United States, despite opposition from some other senators, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“I am reaffirming my commitment to the H-1B visa and increasing the current cap,” she said in 2007 to an audience of tech-industry donors.
“It is an inevitability. There is no way to legislate against reality, so I think the outsourcing will continue,” she said on a 2005 visit to India.
Clinton is also continuing President Barack Obama’s strategy of offering more H-1B workers to companies if they pressure the GOP to provide an amnesty to millions of unskilled illegal immigrants. That strategy, which trades away the careers of white-collar professionals to get more immigrant voters for the Democratic Party, was defeated in 2014 when the GOP’s base voters blocked Obama’s so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” plan.
That plan had offered companies a new supply of blue-collar guest workers, plus an unlimited supply of work-permits for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges, in exchange for their lobbying the GOP to approve an amnesty at least 11 million illegal immigrants.
On June 22, Clinton told Vox.com:
The idea of a comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship that I would envision is one that would deal with a lot of these concerns, not just the 11 million people here … But I don’t want to mix that with other kinds of changes in visas and other concerns that particularly high-value technical companies have. In fact, I think keeping the pressure on the [companies] helps us resolve the bigger [amnesty] problem, and then we can look to see what else, if anything, can and should be done.
Her campaign platform also promises to let universities sell an unlimited number of Green Cards — and thus citizenship — to tuition-paying foreign students. The open-borders promise to foreign graduates is posted at her campaign site and is titled “Hillary Clinton’s Initiative on Technology & Innovation.”
As part of a comprehensive immigration solution, Hillary would “staple” a green card to STEM masters and PhDs from accredited institutions—enabling international students who complete degrees in these fields to move to green card status.
Clinton also supported greater white-collar outsourcing while she was Secretary of State. In fact, her own Clinton Foundation used the H-1B program to hire up to 130 foreign graduates, from 2004 to 2016, instead of hiring Americans.
Overall, “her past statements in support of H-1B visas, and her silence in this campaign even when Bernie Sanders criticised her for her past support of H-1B visas, mean that she will probably support the H-1B visa programme if she is elected president,” according to Cyrus Mehta, an immigration lawyer on Wall Street. If elected, she “will push Congress in the direction of expanding rather than curtailing the H-1B visa,” he wrote in May.
In contrast, Trump has repeatedly called for rules that protect Americans from cheap foreign labor. He argues that immigration rules should help Americans, not companies or investors.
Hillary Clinton's open borders immigration policies will drive down wages for all Americans – and make everyone less safe.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2016
That plan on his website would raise Americans’ wages and reduce unemployment, complained one of Clinton’s Wall Street supporters, Mark Zandi.
In May, Trump also produced a plan to reform the H-1B program so that it doesn’t outsource Americans’ jobs. The plan promised to:
Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.
Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.
White-collar professionals would prefer such a policy in the Midwest, where a July poll showed that the voters are the most outspoken against companies hiring foreigners instead of Americans.
According to the complex H-1B rules, U.S. companies don’t have to interview Americans for jobs before hiring an foreign worker with an H-1B visa. Also, the annual cap on imported H-1B visas is apparently 85,000, but non-profits — including universities and company research centers — are exempt from the cap, so they can many more H-1Bs visas. Also, H-1B visas can be extended beyond can stay longer than six years and also convert their H-1Bs into Green Cards, so many foreign professionals stay in the United States far longer than the supposed six-year limit on H-1B visas. In 2013 “nearly 102,000 Asian immigrants obtained green cards through employment-based immigrant visa petitions,” according to a White House statement.
The growing role of foreign white-collar workers is a national trend that is already reducing salaries for Americans professionals. Almost 20 percent of legal immigrants who have arrived since 2010 have post-graduate degrees, compared to 11 percent of Americans, according to a new survey of government data by the Center for immigration Studies.
For example, foreign born professionals now make up one-quarter of the prestigious computer software business, according to the CIS report. Predictably, “wages have remained flat, with [after-inflation] real wages hovering around their late 1990s levels, said a 2013 report by by the Economic Policy Institute.
But foreign-born professionals now comprise 21 percent of the science sector, 27 percent of doctors and surgeons, 19 percent of architects and engineers, 15 percent of nurses, 14 percent of financial specialists, says the center — which also notes that foreign-born only comprise 5 percent of English-language reporters and 7 percent of lawyers.
The threat to American professionals’ salaries and jobs has been heightened by a steady stream of media articles about H-1B outsourcing. These articles have described the outsourcing of jobs held by accountants at McDonalds’ headquarters, engineers at Caterpillar; software experts at Abbot Laboratories, Disney, California Edison, and the University of California at San Francisco; and by professors, doctors and scientists at universities and hospitals all around the country.
Unsurprisingly, the inflow of foreign professionals is helping to push down the salaries for even the best educated Americans. That trend is following the downward path of American blue-collar workers, whose wages have been shriveled by the huge inflow of unskilled illegal immigrants.
The Breitbart analysis of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania used government data posted at the MyVisaJobs.com site to show that the H-1B program has gradually imported a resident population of at least 100,000 foreign graduates Those graduates are now working in a wide variety of jobs, including as doctors and designers, professors and teachers, scientists, marketing experts, accountants, pharmacists, therapists, and software experts.
The 1oo,000 total includes the current three-state population of roughly 40,000 people now holding six-year H-1B visas, plus roughly 75,000 foreign-born “guest worker” professionals whose American employers helped them get Green Cards to stay in the United States, and to eventually become citizens.
Pennsylvania now has roughly 18,000 H-1Bs, including 4,200 working at prestigious universities and non-profit research centers. Also, 33,000 foreign workers have gotten Green Cards since 1990 from their employers in the state.
Michigan has a population of roughly 16,000 H-1B workers, including roughly 2,600 H-1Bs working at universities and research centers. Also, Michigan employers have won up to 32,000 Green Cards for their foreign workers since 1990.
Wisconsin has a resident population of roughly 6,000 H-1B foreign professionals, including 1,000 H-1Bs working at the state’s universities and non-profit research centers. In addition, companies have applied for 10,000 Green Cards for foreign workers since 1990.
That adds up to a resident population of 40,000 H-1B workers, including 7,800 working at universities and non-profit centers, plus 75,000 foreign professionals who have gotten Green Cards. Assuming one-sixth of the Green Card applicants failed to complete their certified process or have since left the three states, then the guest-worker program has now placed 100,000 foreign professionals in those three states.
Wisconsin has 10 votes in the Electoral College, Pennsylvania has 20 votes, and Michigan has 16 votes. A win in any one of those states could give Trump the keys to the White House.
Nationwide, there are roughly 650,000 resident H-1B workers, including almost 100,000 employed by U.S. colleges, and roughly 13,000 in Ohio.
The H-1Bs are attractive to employers because they’re cheaper than American graduates. For example, the University of Wisconsin at Madison is using the H-1B program to hire foreign professionals for salaries under $62,000 a year. “We currently have 250 H-1B employees,” Meredith McGlone, a spokeswoman for the university told Breitbart.
Companies are also creating non-profit centers to help them bring in more lower-wage foreign professionals instead of hiring higher-wage American graduates. For example, Dow Chemical and its subsidiaries asked to hire 39 new H-1B workers in 2015, including environmental engineers, marketing managers, statisticians, and scientists.
Because they are technically being hired by a “cap exempt” non-profit, none of these 39 H-1Bs were counted against the supposed annual cap of 85,000 H-1B workers.
Dow Chemical did not respond to Breitbart News.
The three-state total of 100,000 foreign professionals excludes the “Optional Practical Training” program, which provides work visas to foreign college grads. In late 2015, roughly 120,000 foreign students were using the OPT visa to apply for jobs sought by American graduates.
The 1oo,000 calculation also excludes the several hundred thousand foreign professionals with L visas now working in the United States. In 2013, 66,700 L visas were issued to foreign professionals, allowing them to work in the United State for up to seven years. There’s no upper limit on the number of L visas issued each year, so the number of L Visa workers may exceed 400,000, with perhaps 20,000 working in the three midwestern states.
The numbers of H-1B and Green Card professionals comes from the MyVisaJobs.com site, which tracks the inflow and transfer of H-1B workers, plus the number of Green Cards that companies apply for on behalf of their foreign professionals.
The estimated population of 100,000 foreign-born college graduates in the three states has created a semi-hidden job market for foreign graduates.
These sites, including MyVisaJobs, DesiOPT, and OPTnation, include many job offerings from Indian-run companies in the United States. Jobs are also advertised to OPT and H-1B workers via the Indeed.com website, and on foreign sites, such as Jobisjob in India, while U.S.-based job coaches help foreign professionals snag good jobs.
Many of the job ads are posted by third-party staffing companies, especially in the medical sector or the software business, who rent their employees to other companies.
The MyVisaJobs.com site offers quick links to job openings at Pennsylvania companies that hire H-1B professionals.
In Philadelphia, many of the posted jobs are for H-1B hires at Deloitte Consulting. Those jobs could be filled by American graduates from mainstream business schools.
DeLoitte did not respond to emails from Breitbart News.
How Breitbart News Calculated the Number of Foreign Professionals in the Three States.
The final count was accomplished in several steps.
The site also displays all the petitions for Green Cards that are submitted by employers on behalf of their foreign employees. One page invites visitors to “Search permanent Labor Certifications(LC) filed under PERM for employment based Green Card petitions. Hundred of new cases are added to the database every day, after Department of Labor makes final decisions.”
The number of resident H-1B workers was calculated by first combining data from 2013 to 2015 on the number of certified requests by for-profit companies to get a H-1B visa for a new foreign hire. That number was then divided by three because only about one-third of approved requests are granted a H-1B visa.
Then Breitbart News added up the number of visas requested in those years by universities and non-profits, such as hospitals. These requests don’t count against the annual cap, so they’re routinely approved. Breitbart then added the number of certified “continuation” visa requests in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Those continuation visas are routinely granted to H-1B workers who have used up their first three-year visa. These continuation visas are also exempt from the cap.
Breitbart News cannot track the number of H-1B, L or OPT visa holders, or of Green Card winners, in the three states who may have moved to or from other American states.
9/20/2016 11:55:59 AM
New Leak Exposes Threats of Lesser-Known TISA
TTIP 2.0? New Leak Exposes Threats of Lesser-Known TISA Trade Deal
by Nika Knight, CommonDreams.org, September 20, 2016
Greenpeace Netherlands exposed the threats to democracy and climate action contained within the little-known Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) on Tuesday with new leaks divulging several chapters of the clandestine global trade agreement.
"It's a sad day for democracy when ordinary people are dependent on leaks to learn about the far-reaching consequences of toxic trade deals that are being cooked up behind closed doors," said Nick Dearden, head of the U.K.-based Global Justice Now.
And TISA is perhaps the least well-known and most highly protected of the imminent agreements: "Somehow TISA is also even more secret than the notoriously covert CETA, TTIP and TPP deals, with parties unable to release details of negotiations until five years after it has taken effect," Greenpeace observes.
These latest leaks "confirm what civil society groups, trade unions, and consumer watch dogs across the world have been warning against, that TISA is a turbo-charged privatization and deregulation deal that will enormously benefit corporations at the expense of ordinary people and democracy itself," Dearden added.
Indeed, the leaks from the highly secretive deal—currently being negotiated by 50 nations around the world—affirm that with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the ropes, other such "democracy-wrecking" deals are looming.
"The deal, a spiritual and practical sibling of the much-maligned TTIP and TPP free trade agreements, is designed to drive deregulation across the vast global services sector," observes Greenpeace, "increasing international trade in everything from banking to energy services."
In its analysis (pdf) of the TISA leaks, Greenpeace explains that the deal's emphasis on deregulation presents a grave threat to countries' ability to adhere to the terms agreed upon in the Paris climate accord:
Countries that sign up to TISA will be required to lock-in liberalization and could be prevented from rolling back failed policies due of two key clauses—the 'standstill' and 'ratchet' clauses.
The standstill clause freezes the extent of liberalization in certain sectors, which means the markets of TISA state can never be less liberalized than they were at the time they signed the deal.
Meanwhile the ratchet clause—which sometimes appears in other trade agreements—stops countries from reintroducing trade barriers that had been previously and unilaterally removed.
Together these two clauses undermine the ability of governments to ever reverse the liberalization of services, even if elected on a mandate to do it. That means they could be stopped from testing liberalizing policies, since there would be no way to reversing them if things went awry.
In order to make the objectives of the Paris Agreement a reality and in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the point where the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided, governments must be allowed to interfere and use all policy tools available to them. Arbitrarily locking governments into deregulation could have hugely negative impacts on their capacity to implement the kind of climate policies we need to stay within 1.5 degrees.
Greenpeace also notes that while going "[w]idely unnoticed by the public, TISA could be finalized by the end of this year."
"We now know that TISA will undermine COP21, further deregulate the financial sector, stop failed privatizations being brought back into public hands, and undermine data privacy laws," commented Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of Public Service International. "What else are our governments keeping secret from us?"
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9/10/2016 3:54:53 AM
So much for the STEM shortage?
So much for the STEM shortage?
By Patrick Gray, TechRepublic, September 7, 2016
In November of this year, freshly promoted Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins delivered a keynote at the Cisco STEM Innovation Challenge, an event that assembled high school students, teachers, and Cisco engineers to promote the importance of STEM-related fields and the "lucrative careers" available to those with a STEM background.
Add this to the chorus of political calls for more STEM education, from the President of the United States down to local school boards, and STEM careers were are being presented as the perfect path to a secure future, with high pay, interesting work, and lifetime employment for anyone entering the field. Less than a year later, Cisco is ending 5,500 of those careers, or about 7% of its workforce. This follows large cuts by other companies that routinely fly the STEM banner, including HP, Intel, and IBM.
A question of definitionPart of the challenge with promoting a so-called STEM shortage is that STEM covers an overly broad spectrum of disciplines, from mechanical engineering to marine biology. These fields are also generally non-transferable. If a biomedical engineer finds limited job prospects upon graduation, he or she has about the same ability to switch to software engineering as someone with a degree in American History. While there's a fair case to be made that the STEM fields teach a broadly-applicable mindset and methodology, the HR departments run by the CEO's preaching the STEM shortage do little to recognize mindset versus laundry lists of technical credentials, and a bias toward dismissing obsolete skillsets rather than retraining.
Following the moneyClearly, there's a significant disconnect occurring when some of the most vocal advocates of STEM training are culling significant portions of their STEM workforce. After all, if the STEM shortage were as acute as the rhetoric implies, massive layoffs of STEM staff would be akin to removing your liver to lose a bit of weight. When one looks at the STEM "crisis" objectively, however, an ongoing "crisis" offers significant benefit to its proponents at a fairly minimal cost.
There are, in fact, many skills in short supply in the technology space. Beating the STEM drum ultimately results in a larger talent pool for the technology industry to draw from, lowering their ongoing talent costs, either by creating a talent surplus and lowering wages or increasing the quality of talent that's available. Aside from some program funding and the occasional "STEM Day" where students interact with technology companies and learn about careers in technology, it costs the technology industry very little, as most of the cost of mitigating a STEM shortage is borne by students and the educational system. The educational system becomes a happy co-conspirator in the process. Whether there are actually STEM careers available to graduates or not, a STEM "crisis" means more funding, more computers, and more value placed on its services and teachers.
What's a student to do?
While there's lots of nice talk about "following your dreams" and ignoring the financial aspects of your career choice, the financial prospects of your chosen field should come into consideration, both in the short and longer terms. STEM is too large a field to provide any meaningful insight into career prospects, since it includes everything from Advanced Mathematics to Mechanical Engineering, fields that are diverse and subject to variable job markets. At the same moment, one STEM field might be burning hot, while another is ice cold. For example, a recent mantra among technology companies is that "hardware is dead," reducing the need for Mechanical Engineers, while Data Scientists are still a hot commodity. Looking for broader skills and themes that will help advance your career is a better approach. Clearly, technology will play a role in most fields, so a basic understanding of the process behind technology, whether it's coding or very basic engineering, will likely serve one well regardless of their ultimate career choice.
Advice for technology leaders
The great risk of the incessant STEM shortage talk is that students and employees are smart enough to notice the waves of layoffs in the technology sector, and likely have a friend, parent, or relative who offers a very different perspective on a technology career than the happy talk about vast riches and near-lifetime employment. Additionally, the technology sector itself has vastly more options than pure engineering roles. An artist or designer can have a rich career in technology in fields ranging from consulting to user experience design, just as much as a software engineer focused on coding, and frankly each could benefit from some exposure to the other's discipline.
Rather than endlessly beating the STEM drum, it would serve the field and our bottom lines better if we articulated specifically what STEM skills were most relevant to the technology sector, with a focus on those that transcend specific technologies that may become obsolete. The hundreds of hours I spent learning C and Pascal did little to aid my career, but perhaps a course in basic software development methodologies and process would have better served me.
Finally, the logic cited in many of the mass layoffs is a changing technology environment necessitating new skills. If flexibility in adapting to rapid change is the key skill we need in our workforce, advocating deep study in a tiny subset of STEM fields is not a recipe to build that type of workforce, nor is hiring primarily based on knowledge of a basket of specialized technologies. Before waving the STEM flag, consider the long-term prospects a bunch of engineers with outdated technology skills and significant depth in a narrow slice of STEM, fresh out of university would have at your company. Would you rather our educational system produce well-rounded, flexible learners who use technology as a tool, or the next crop of engineers you need to dismiss when technology changes?
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9/10/2016 3:46:52 AM
“Tech” Paid $5 Billion to Wall Street in 2016
“Tech” Paid $5 Billion in Fees to Wall Street in 2016, and Look What it Got for it
By Wolf Richter, The Daily Coin, September 9, 2016
Most often it just leads to more shut-downs, write-offs, and layoffs. Investment banks have not been very lucky in extracting fees from Corporate America so far this year, and overall fee income has plunged 18% from the same period last year. But there was one standout: technology companies.
Nowadays “tech” includes non-tech companies such as shopping sites, home-delivery apps for beer, anything having to do with the new gig economy, anything that takes place on a device, rather than inside a brick-and-mortar location.
These tech companies have handed Wall Street investment banks $5 billion so far this year in fees related to Mergers & Acquisitions – up 5% from the same period last year – for advice on M&A and handling the associated debt deals, equity underwriting, and syndicated loans.
That’s the highest amount paid since dotcom-year 2000 when they’d paid $8.3 billion, according to Dealogic.
The tech M&A boom came into full bloom last year and is continuing this year. Since January 2015, tech companies have announced $1 trillion in deals, according to Dealogic, cited by the Wall Street Journal. Investment banks make money on numerous aspects of these deals, coming and going. Advising on deals alone generated 42% of the fees. But there are also bonds, syndicated loans, and, sometimes peculiar, equity offerings involved.
Dell’s highly-leveraged $67-billion acquisition of EMC has captured the wildest dreams on Wall Street. It’s the new “largest tech deal ever.” Dell is privately held, so paying for the acquisition, announced in October last year, by just issuing more shares wasn’t in the cards. This complicated things, and generated massive fees, including for advisory work, a $20-billion bond offering, syndicated loans, and the issuance of Dell’s iffy VMware tracking stock where potential investors don’t know what they’re getting, only that it’s not anything real, and are clinging by their fingernails to the hope that this, unlike other tracking stocks during the dotcom bubble, will work out somehow. Dell’s EMC deal closed on Wednesday. Ka-ching.
Growth-challenged Microsoft, which finally finished sloughing off its botched Nokia purchase – After Losing $11 Billion on $9.4-billion Nokia Acquisition and Axing 27,650 Jobs, Microsoft Dumps Consumer Smartphones – went out again and this time is acquiring struggling LinkedIn for $26 billion, which also generated a bonanza of fees for Wall Street, including from a $19.75 billion bond offering to fund the acquisition.
Then there was chipmaker Avago Technologies’ $37 billion acquisition of Broadcom, at the time “the biggest tech deal ever,” $17 billion in cash and $20 billion in stock. Announced last May, it closed earlier this year. Getting this cash entailed arranging a very lucrative $16-billion loan that was syndicated to other banks.
Softbank is acquiring chip-design firm ARM Holdings, which had $1.5 billion in revenues, for an astounding $31 billion (so 20 times revenues!), hoping to boost its “Internet of Things” future, and paying investment banks out of its nose for this sort of advice.
Walmart is buying online retailer Jet.com. Everything is tech these days. Even old-fashioned credit bureau Equifax, founded in 1899, now uses the newfangled moniker “FinTech” to boost its shares in hopes for a big buyout offer from Microsoft.
In the startup space, Intel – after announcing 12,000 layoffs earlier this year, and after requesting 14,523 H-1B visas and green cards to bring in foreign workers – is chasing after Artificial Intelligence as the next big thing. AI has been the next big thing for decades. So in August, it agreed to acquire 48-employee Nervana Systems for around $408 million.
Apple bought AI outfit Turi for $200 million in August, after having bought AI outfit Emotient, which is trying to recognize and react to facial expressions, a capability your iPhone 7 desperately needs after you lost another $159-AirPod – the umpteenth in three days. Google, Amazon, Facebook, they’re all going after AI.
Outside of tech, M&A in the US has been a dismal year to date, according to Dealogic. Despite the rise in tech deals, acquisitions by US companies in the US have plunged 40% from last year at this time, to a measly $702 billion, the lowest since 2012. The number of deals plunged 18% to 5,177, the lowest since 2009. Mega-deals of $10 billion or larger are also drying up, with only 12 such deals announced so far this year, for $203 billion, down from 23 deals and $606 billion last year to date.
That’s bad news for investment banks. The only saving grace for them: $311.5 billion of inbound deals by foreign companies of US companies, up 7% from last year to date, and an all-time record. This includes the announcement on September 6 by Canadian oil & gas company Enbridge that it would buy Spectra Energy of Houston for $43 billion. Inbound US M&A reached a 31% share of all US M&A, another record.
In Tech, however, M&A serves a special role. Some of the biggest players, such as Microsoft and IBM, can’t figure out how to grow or develop new technologies on their own. For them, M&A is seen as the solution – a way to grow faster, or to grow at all, or at least to not be left behind too far, though it rarely works. For others that are still growing, like Google, M&A is a way to chase after the latest and greatest, even if they blow a lot of money on something will then just disappear.
While there are some examples where M&A actually worked and produced results for the acquiring company and did some good for the overall economy – I can’t think of any at the moment, but there are some – most often it just leads to more shut-downs, write-offs, and layoffs. But that doesn’t matter to the executives. They’ve already been paid their bonuses and stock options and got their ego boost. And some of them have moved on. And it doesn’t matter to Wall Street investment banks because they’ve already pocketed the billions of dollars in fees.
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9/10/2016 3:41:55 AM
Caterpillar Hires H-1Bs, Fires 300 Americans
Caterpillar Hires H-1B Foreign Graduates, Fires 300 American Professionals
by Neil Munro, 6 Sep 20160, Breibart.com
Caterpillar is firing 300 American employees in Mossville, Illinois, even though it is continuing to recruit and pay foreign “H-1B” guest-workers to do the white-collar jobs sought by American professionals in the United States.
Caterpillar’s combination of white-collars layoffs and H-1B outsourcing matches the much-criticized decision by Carrier, a company in next-door Indiana, to outsource 1,400 blue-collar factory jobs to Mexico.
Outsider GOP candidate Donald Trump has vigorously denounced the outsourcing by Carrier’s air-conditioning business. His opposition has helped him get a nine-point polling advantage in the state. But Trump’s support for major reforms to the H-1B program to reduce the outsourcing of professional jobs is raising his support among upper-income professional-class voters in many other states.
The Caterpillar outsourcing “is all the same thing happening over and over again,’ said John Miano, a lawyer and software expert who has sued the federal government to reduce or stop various outsourcing programs, such as the H-1B visa. “What we see is that companies ask for more [H-1B visas] while they’re laying off the same kind of [American professionals] … this is going to be an election that decides whether this continues,” Miano said.
Early in 2016, Caterpillar asked the federal government for 71 H-1B visas needed to hire foreign white-collar college-grads. At least 30 of the requested H-1B visas are for engineers and other skilled professionals in Mossville, which is suffering the most layoffs.
At least 44 of the visas requested in 2016 are for foreign graduates who are already working at Caterpillar in the United States. These “continuation” visas are automatically approved, and do not count against the much touted annual limits on H1-B visas.
Another 22 of Caterpillar’s H-1B request visas are for new hires.
Since 2012, Caterpillar has requested 768 visas for H-1B workers. Roughly speaking, companies get one-fifth of the new-hire H-1B visas they request, suggesting the company has outsourced at least 100 U.S.-based jobs to lower-wage foreign graduates.
Companies are not required to interview Americans, or even announce job openings, before asking for H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa allows the foreign college-graduates to stay for at least three years, and some manage to stay permanently. For example, the company has also helped get green cards — the precursor to citizenship — for roughly 70 foreign college graduates. Most of these green card employees have replaced Americans software graduates.
Caterpillar has not responded to emails from Breitbart.
While Trump has promised to reform the controversial H-1B program as part of his plan to ensure that immigration law helps Americans before companies or foreign workers, Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of the H-1B program, and her foundation has tried to hire more than 130 foreign professionals in place of young Americans.
That political difference over white-collar outsourcing may become critical in the new few weeks when Trump tries to raise his support among college graduates.
Trump is already doing well among blue-collar families, party because of his promise to start enforcing existing laws that bar the hiring of illegals. But Trump is doing poorly among college-graduates, partly because few white-collar workers yet recognize the pocketbook impact to them of federal immigration practices. Fewer still know that states are also allowing illegal immigrants to work in professional jobs.
American professionals prefer to ignore the threat from the government’s H-1B program, said Miano. “They all all think ‘I’m good… if I keep up my skills, I don’t have anything to worry about’ — but they don’t know these [hiring] decisions are being made by accountants who have no idea what their skills are,” he said.
That outsourcing process is a huge threat to the middle class because it is “cutting off the ability of people to rise up,” he said. “The whole thing of the middle class is to send your kids to college, get professional jobs and move up — but now that is being destroyed” by outsourcing, Miano said.
Many companies outsource U.S. white collar jobs to foreign professionals — Disney, DeLoitte, many hospitals, Facebook, Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, plus many smaller companies, such as the Toys R Us retailer, Cengage publishing firm, and New York Life insurance company. The scale and details of the outsourcing movement can be tracked at websites, including MyVisaJobs.com.
Virgil Bierschwale, a displaced software expert, has posted details of the H-1B program and maps showing the locations and employer contacts for H-1B requests.
Much of the 2016 H-1B outsourcing at Caterpillar is for engineering jobs held by Americans.
Commercial job search boards show many Americans are qualified for those jobs. Indeed.com, for example, offers the resumes of 2,445 engineers within a 25-mile distance of Mossville, including some recently posted resumes of Caterpillar’s soon-to-be-outsourced employees.
These engineering jobs are in the so-called STEM field, which the federal government — and the private sector — has long declared will provide a secure upward path for American college grads.
However, even as young Americans study to earn places in colleges, the federal government is helping companies employ a population of roughly 650,000 H-1B professionals in the United States.
The resident population of around 650,000 H-1B professionals include roughly 100,000 professionals at U.S. universities. The outsourced university jobs include tens of thousands of jobs for professors and lecturers, doctors and therapists, scientists and researchers.
Most of the 650,000 outsourced H-1B jobs are in the information technology sector, where the imported professionals have lowered wages throughout the industry and forced middle-aged Americans into new, lower-paying careers — such as journalism — at just the time when they need good pay to help their children get a good education.
Many additional outsourced H-1B jobs are in business and finance, architecture and design, p.r. and media, health care, and teaching.
The wide variety of jobs shows how the H-1B outsourcing is reaching far beyond Silicon Valley. For example, companies such as CVS are increasingly using foreign college graduates to replace American pharmacists in Washington D.C., New York, and across the nation.
“If American professionals don’t stand up soon, they’ll be going the way of the auto workers and the factory workers in just a few years,” said Miano.
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9/10/2016 3:33:55 AM
Dell to Layoff 3,000 Requesting 5,000 H-1B Visas
Dell-EMC to Lay Off 2,000 – 3,000 US Workers after Requesting 5,000 H-1B Visas & Green Cards to Import Foreign Workers
By Wolf Richter, WolfStreet.com, September 9, 2016
Trying to find efficiencies and synergies to save $1.7 billion.The ink was barely dry on Dell’s acquisition of EMC, the largest technology deal ever, valued at $67 billion when it was announced in October last year – and already the layoff rumors are oozing from the woodwork.
“People familiar with the company’s plans” told Bloomberg that Dell will cut 2,000 to 3,000 jobs.
Dell spokesman Dave Farmer refused to comment specifically on the report on Thursday but said instead, as sort of a confirmation: “As is common with deals of this size, there will be some overlaps we will need to manage and where some employee reduction will occur.”
On Wednesday, the day the deal closed, CEO Michael Dell gave some clues in an interview: “There are some overlapping functions and that sort of thing – that’s not the primary feature of this, but there is some of that.”
These “overlaps” or “overlapping functions” are terms in corporate speak for real people, and these real people are mostly working in the US, according to the report: supply chain, marketing, and general and administrative positions.
Dell is trying to find some efficiencies and synergies to save about $1.7 billion in the first 18 months after the deal closes, so starting from Wednesday. They’re not dilly-dallying around cutting costs and laying off people.
Combined they have about 140,000 employees. So the trimming might have a long ways to go, especially if the cloud and the Internet of Things are not as fun as imagined. But that doesn’t mean that the headcount will come down – they’re bringing in foreign workers, mostly from India.
Between 2014 and 2016, Dell applied for 2,039 H-1B visas and 256 Green Cards. EMC applied for 2,347 H-1B visas and 453 Green Cards, for a total of 5,095 applications.
These are just applications. Not all of them will be certified, and of those that are certified, not all beneficiaries will be hired. But the data for 2016 isn’t complete yet either.
It’s the hot thing to do for tech companies: laying off existing workers in the US, and bringing it foreign workers on H-1B visas. The Senate has been looking into some of the abuses. In February, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent US Attorney General Loretta Lynch a letter requesting a Justice Department investigation. But the tech lobby will likely get the Senate back on track soon.
But Dell needs to save some money, one way or the other. Dell’s corporate credit rating is at the upper end of junk. It’s loaded to the gills with debt, stemming from when it was taken private. Now the EMC deal has piled new debt on the company, including $20 billion of bonds it sold in May, followed by a $5-billion leveraged loan.
It needed this pile of cash to pay EMC shareholders $24.05 per share. They also got a “tracking stock” linked notionally to EMC’s interest in VMware, but in reality they get no real ownership of anything. Tracking stocks were hot during the dotcom bubble, with disastrous results for investors.
The combined company is also trying to boost sales, which they’ve been trying to do individually for years. All old tech companies, including IBM and Microsoft are trying to boost sales, and particularly those in the withering PC ecosystem are having the hardest time.
They need to find a new niche for growth, and so they’re all piling into the “cloud” and the adjacent “Internet of Things” that links even the fridge to the cloud. But this is precisely where Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Google dominate.
This is the situation Dell and EMC are in. Both have a large part of their products scattered around the PC ecosystem, Dell with servers and PCs, and EMC with storage devices. A match made in heaven. And so they’re going to innovate their way out of it! As Michael
Dell said in the interview:
“We’ve got the ability to innovate at scale and invest – not for next quarter, but we have the agility and speed of a startup, but the scale and reach of the largest company in the industry.”
Alas, Dell became successful by building the same boxes everyone else was building, but it was building them on order, marketing and selling them directly, and getting customers to pay before their computers were even assembled, which was a new approach to supply chain management and working-capital financing in the 1980s: For the first time in history, accounts receivable were a negative amount, and working capital was funded entirely by customers, free of charge. Credit cards made that possible.
That was Dell’s big invention. It gave it a huge cost advantage, until everyone started doing it. But it wasn’t technological innovation. EMC is a different animal. But now it’s under Dell’s control, and they’re carrying a lot of debt, and cost cutting is going to be the big strategy going forward.
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9/10/2016 3:29:46 AM
University of California’s outsourcing is wrong
University of California’s outsourcing is wrong, says U.S. lawmaker
By Patrick Thibodeau,Computerworld, Sep 9, 2016
A decision by the University of California to lay off IT employees and send their jobs overseas is under fire from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and the IEEE-USA.
The university recently informed about 80 IT workers at its San Francisco campus, including contract employees and vendor contractors, that it hired India-based HCL, under a $50 million contract, to manage infrastructure and networking-related services.
The university employees will remain on the job until the end of February, but before then they are expecting to train their foreign replacements. The number of affected employees may expand. The university's IT services agreement with HCL can be leveraged by any institution in the 10-campus system.
"How are they [the university] going to tell students to go into STEM fields when they are doing as much as they can to do a number on the engineers in their employment?" said Lofgren, in an interview.
Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA, said what the university is doing "is just one more sad example of corporations, a major university system in this case, importing non-Americans to eliminate American IT jobs." This engineering association has some 235,000 members.
"Profit before people will continue to be their goal until Congress stops them," said Eckstein.
HCL, and other firms in the offshore industry generally, use H-1B temporary visa workers. HCL was one of the contractors at Disney, which cut around 250 workers last year. Two former Disney employees filed a lawsuit in January in federal court challenging HCL, a second contractor and Disney over the use of foreign workers.
"I think it’s the wrong thing to do," said Lofgren, of the university’s offshoring effort.
"The H-1B program was not devised to replace American workers with less highly paid foreign workers who are then going to take all the jobs offshore," said Lofgren, who represents part of Silicon Valley and has sought visa program reforms.
"That's not the intent of the [H-1B] law, and Congress has done nothing to reform the law to prevent this from happening," said Lofgren.
The university is "misusing the visa program, and one likes to think that the University of California would be wanting to be in conformity with the intent of the immigration laws," said Lofgren.
The H-1B visa program was intended to provide people for specific workforce needs. But over the last 20 years, the program’s major users have been IT services firms that use visa workers to help outsource work overseas. U.S. IT workers have complained repeatedly about having to train workers on temporary visas as a condition of severance, and often accuse the U.S. government as being a party to their layoff.
Lofgren said she is not an opponent of the H-1B program, "run properly," nor does she fault its original goal. But she said it sounds that "what the university is doing is a misuse of the program" similar to Disney and Southern California Edison, she said, "where they are not getting the best and the brightest, they are just basically using it as a way to cut American engineers, which they shouldn’t do."
Lofgren had been working with U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on H-1B reform legislation. A key aspect of the proposal, primarily drafted by Lofgren, would distribute visas on a system based on the willingness of employers to pay.
But their joint effort didn't bear fruit and Issa introduced his own bill in July, the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (HR 5801) with a narrow goal compared to what Lofgren sought.
Issa's bill raises the $60,000 salary threshold that creates an exemption for H-1B-dependent firms -- a designation for large visa users that are mostly IT services firms that offshore work -- from having to attest that they aren’t replacing U.S. workers. That salary level was set in 1998 with no provision for changing it. Issa's proposal would raise it to $100,000, and set a mechanism for hiking it over time.
Lofgren called Issa's bill “outrageous” and said it wouldn’t do a "damn thing" to stop outsourcing because engineering salaries are already more than $100,000.
"I tried to work with Issa for months -- in all honestly dealing with him is just chaos; it would take his staff weeks or months to get back to my staff -- they didn't know what they were doing," said Lofgren.
Asked for a response, Calvin Moore, Issa's spokesperson, said that Issa approached Lofgren about introducing a bill before the August recess, but she "told us the ‘the door was closed," he said, in an email. "So we moved ahead with the rest of our colleagues on a bill we could actually get done before the end of the year."
Moore defended the bill and said "it raises the exemption limits to be more in line with current American salaries in these positions to remove the incentive that has been abused to displace American workers."
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7/4/2016 11:40:28 AM
Why Guest Workers Are Easily Exploited
Why Guest Workers Are Easily Exploited
By The Editorial Board, NY Times, July 1, 2016
So far this year, employers in the United States have hired some 80,000 foreign guest workers for low-skilled nonagricultural jobs. If a bipartisan group in Congress gets its way, the number could soon rise as high as 264,000.
Employers say they need to import these workers — called H-2B workers after their visa category — because no comparable American workers are available. That claim does not stand up. When labor is scarce, unemployment falls and wages rise. But unemployment is high in all of the top H-2B fields, which include landscaping, groundskeeping, construction, hospitality and seafood processing, while wages in those fields have long been flat or declining.
Even if there were a labor shortage, the H-2B system would not be an acceptable solution. The Government Accountability Office has found that H-2B workers, who typically work for nine-month stints, have been abused; news reports support these findings. These workers are yoked to their employers. If they protest unsafe conditions, wage theft or other mistreatment, they risk dismissal, deportation and financial ruin.
Why would Congress expand the H-2B system? Because businesses that profit from cheap and subservient labor are demanding that it do so. Employers are supposed to recruit American workers before they hire H-2B workers. They are also supposed to pay guest workers the prevailing wage Americans would earn. Legal loopholes and lax enforcement have allowed them to sidestep those rules.
One attempt at reform was short-lived. In April of last year, federal regulators issued tough new rules to monitor recruitment and ensure fair pay. The backlash was swift. Later in 2015, in riders to a budget bill, the new rule on fair pay was undone, the annual cap on H-2B visas was effectively quadrupled, from 66,000, and the Labor Department was denied funds to audit employer compliance with visa and labor laws.
Budget riders normally expire at the end of a fiscal year. But lawmakers have now begun to attach last year’s H-2B riders to spending bills for next year.
All workers, American and foreign, deserve fair pay. Wages are depressed by the lack of labor law enforcement coupled with a broken immigration system that creates pools of exploitable labor, including nonimmigrant guest workers under H-2B. The first step toward change is to stop the riders that are derailing H-2B reform. The next, more difficult step, is comprehensive immigration reform.