And This Is How Companies Get Around HB1 Visas

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Here is South Florida you will see quite a number of job postings for professional positions in which the prospective candidate must snail mail a resume to an address but no company name is given.  Today I was meeting with an employment counselor for the Miami area.  What she showed me was shocking.


Many companies here want to take advantage of cheap professional oriented labor from South America, particularly from troubled countries like Venezuela or Argentina. Of course those require an HB1 Visa.  This person has special access to job postings that run through the state and they can tell if the posting is a decoy for bringing in an HB1 visa worker.


The process works like this. The company in question employs an immigration attorney.  The attorney tells said company they must first prove to the government that a naturalized/local candidate could not be found.  So the attorney runs a job posting on (mostly) CareerBuilder, Indeed, or Employ Florida (a local private website in Florida paid for by the state).  The job posting will request that the candidate mail their resume and cover letter to an address (no email or fax number provided).  The name of the hiring firm is not disclosed.


So some dumb chump goes through the hassle of applying for a job 1985 style.  What he/she is really doing is sending their resume and cover letter snail mail to an attorney's office.  When the attorney gets the resume and cover letter it likely gets immediately shredded, certainly never read or reviewed.


Then the immigration attorney can tell the Feds no local candidate could be hired.  The Company is then free to bring on the clueless South American for less than half of similar local salaries, obvious thrilled to now be living in the US rather than some s##t hole in South America albeit ripped off in the process.


So there you go. Illegal immigration made legal.



Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 4, 2017 - 6:18pm
Not always this way George. Quite often it is not. It's driven by the cost of education here which forces local Americans to seek a certain wage which in many cases is more than the market can support. This opens the way for companies to seek talent elsewhere who haven't paid so much for education and so can accept lower salaries in the beginning but they are just as talented as if not more than local Americans. It's all driven by profitability which in turn is driven by productivity. A business has to pay it's way or it will die. 
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 4, 2017 - 6:19pm
Too many people who should be doing something else like learning a trade which incidentally can pay well get into college instead because they can. 
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 4, 2017 - 6:21pm
..with some kind of aid which in turn drives up college fees but not the standard of that education. 
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 4, 2017 - 6:23pm
George, I have a local firm that has my resume and has never, ever interviewed me. They email me every now and then asking me to apply for positions, and if I do, sometimes I get rejected while the posting is still on the internet. I sincerely believe that the "labor shortage" is not real. There is a shortage of truck drivers, but that means that there are not a lot of people wanting to live in a cramped cabin, see their family once every several weeks, and make about $6.00 an hour when you count up all the work that they do.  That's why the trucking companies pay by miles and not by hours, because if it paid by hours even at the minimum wage they would lose money.
The work visas are another scam to pay educated professionals less money. A local university was doing this, got caught, and is in deep trouble, along with the administrator that got fired, while getting paid for three months for doing nothing, of course. Work is so hard. Like the Wall Street Journal said today: "If the Mexicans were coming in with law degrees, there would have been a wall twenty years ago."
Leroy Added Apr 4, 2017 - 6:52pm
Great reporting, George.
There are so many ways corporations use to keep wages artificially low.  One that I have mentioned before is the collusion between multi-nationals to pay the average wage.  Some smart lawyer will figure out how to make money on that one day and the practice will come to an end.
And, Jeff, I liked the Wall Street quote.  So true.
Richard Plank Added Apr 5, 2017 - 3:35am
George we may be able to test such an assertion.  I do not for a minute think it is not happening, but I have no idea how extensive it really is but I think most readers would agree there is a scam for everything.  One uses a content analytic program and searches for job listings that meet the criteria you note.  People use Atlas at my place, but many such programs exist.  Then one sends off a resume and continually follows up for a period of time and looks at the results.  One should get an idea of the potential crime issues, by checking addresses as well as noting response patterns or  lack of same.  While there are other alternatives to whatever you might find it certainly adds to the data available such crime exists.  I am sure some academic criminologist is probably looking at this or similar issues and probably has a firmer idea on how  often it might really occur. 
Kaushik, the market is not much of an answer for many things and if and when we as a species finally figure out we can't grow population forever and have to even shrink it the world becomes a very different place.  There are some new business models being attempted which are not shareholder models, but more stakeholder models so greed and self interest are not the driving factors.   Care to start a lottery on when this realization hits home.  I am betting 50 years, one of my colleagues thinks closer to 25.  Bragging rights only if you live long enough.
Mircea Negres Added Apr 5, 2017 - 4:41am
Scary one, George. It makes sense as a tactic, although if ICE ever get around to testing it, chances are a lot of people will become some bad men's girlfriends in prison because it sounds to me like fraud.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 5, 2017 - 5:39am
What is the market...if not an aggregate of people and their activities and in that case aren't we saying people aren't responsible enough to make decisions about themselves when we try to dismantle it? 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 5, 2017 - 7:29am
Guillotines I say! Guillotines.
Dino Manalis Added Apr 5, 2017 - 8:12am
We need a much stronger economy with lots of jobs for all of us.  Guest-worker visas should be expanded to stem illegal immigration, otherwise, they will find a way to enter illegally!
Donna Added Apr 5, 2017 - 1:10pm
George, Good article, it brings to light a few things.
 Who would do some of the jobs being posted- in my area all are farm jobs.Pay is poor, but housing provided along with insurance, no white man would work for less than 8 an hour, a farm can't pay that and stay in business with competitive prices. So they do what is legal and use the immigrants from wherever they apply.Most are Jamaican in my state.
I would say it is not all jobs, housing , rent  medical costs, all has tremendously gone up, with no major increase in any pay scale across the board. This has been for years..
Dr. Rupert Green Added Apr 5, 2017 - 4:47pm
Mexicans and such keep down the cost of food in US. Get rid of them and Trump will have a food riot on his hand.
Tamara Wilhite Added Apr 5, 2017 - 5:49pm
Not true, Mr. Green. Most of US agriculture is mechanized, and the demand for manual labor is decreasing due to continuing automation.
7 robots that are replacing farm workers around the world
Dr. Rupert Green Added Apr 5, 2017 - 6:19pm
Machine picks strawberry, wash straw berry, grade strawberry, reject bad strawberry, pack strawberry on trucks and drive trucks.  If true on mechanization, what are the 10 million illegals  (say 4 millions on farms) doing here?
Bill Kamps Added Apr 7, 2017 - 12:25pm
George, Im not sure what you expect.  Whenever the government sets  up a process that gives preference to some group, in this case people really eligible for the  H1B, there are people who will work the system and subvert it.  It is human nature.
The thing is there are finite number of H1B's available.  So whether they are used correctly or incorrectly, the number does not change the number of people that will get in, it just changes WHO will get in.
Expecting companies to not game the system is a bit naive. 
The H1B's get "used up" in a matter of a couple of weeks each year, once a new batch get authorized.  I know companies that "acquire" a number of H1B's without even having a name attached to them, so they can use them later in the year.  Its a game, those of us in an international business know it.
George N Romey Added Apr 7, 2017 - 12:33pm
Bill again the wrong argument is being made.  There is all this focus on people coming across the Southern border. They are here to take the jobs most Americans do not want like cleaning public toilets.  In the interim good jobs are being taken away perfectly legally.  So instead of "build that wall" we should be chanting "end the H1B visas."
Bill Kamps Added Apr 7, 2017 - 12:42pm
Dr Green the cost of labor in vegetables is rather small, if the price of the final product goes up by 10-20% people are not going to stop buying vegetables, that is a myth. 
Bill Kamps Added Apr 7, 2017 - 2:03pm
George, but you article didnt talk about ending the H1B, it talked about how companies subvert the process making it illegal immigration.  I really did read the article, and checked it after your comments.
The H1B lets in a specific number of people.  It is fine to say that number should be zero, that is a possible argument.  You didnt push that idea in your article.  What you talked about was how companies make legal immigration, illegal.  Well what they do is get H1B's for their favorite immigrant, subverting the system but they dont increase the number of H1B people allowed in.  So it is preferential treatment, but it is not creating more immigrants.
I have problems with the H1B system because to use it, you have to be a big company, because they can afford the attorney fees that are necessary to meet the requirements.  It is not easy to get them, because of all the regulations, and how  the system is gamed.  That system shuts out the small companies.  So getting rid of it is fine with me.
Leroy Added Apr 10, 2017 - 1:34pm
I came across an interesting article on Medium about the subject.  It talked a lot about IT companies, including IBM, who hire H1B workers.  The assumption is always that the person hired has 5 or 6 people working behind him in India.  So, in effect, 3 people are displaced in the US for every worker hired in the US (the efficiency is assumed to be lower, so one worker doesn't displace 6).
George Dienhart Added Apr 10, 2017 - 2:51pm
H1Bs have devastated the job market for IT workers. I am currently retraining because of this, I used to make 100k a year, but now they can hire 3 H1B workers for that. Thanks for bringing this up.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 10, 2017 - 2:53pm
Whatever the problem with the program the numbers are small, the 2016 number of visas was 65,000.  So it is not like this is causing massive US unemployment.  Its not a great program, and its subverted in many ways, but at least it is not large, unlike some government programs. 
Leroy Added Apr 10, 2017 - 7:05pm
In 2016, there were 547,250 H1B visas certified, as I read it.  Another 70,000 were either withdrawn or denied.  There were 63,780 employers that applied for H1B visas.  If you consider that in many cases you get more than one employee per approved application, it becomes significant.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 11, 2017 - 12:58pm
Clever little scam, the world is full of them. In the European Union there is a clause of the minimum wage law that stipulates a company must pay the minimum wage of the nation it operates from, not the minimum wage of the country a person is employed in. So as Britain and Germany have a minimum wage of around €1,500 per month and Romania's is €300 a month there are now a lot of employment agencies with names like Schmidt and Johnson operating there and hiring out low grade workers to companies in Britain, taking advantage of EU free movement laws to come to Britain. And once their contract runs out they are in the system and so stay and sign on for the dole.
Either the people who draft our laws are very stupid or they are ;eft wing activists. I know which my money is on.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 11, 2017 - 7:43pm
If the H1B Visa users didn't add enough value to their employer's product to outweigh their cost they simply won't be welcome. That goes back to the price at which customers are willing to buy the most of each product to the extent that the producer wants them to justify producing that product so ultimately it's the customer's decision not any government's. Ending the programme is a cry for price and wage controls in one form or the other which ends up shafting the hapless customer. 
Jeff Michka Added Apr 11, 2017 - 9:09pm
Dr. Rupert Greed noticed: what are the 10 million illegals  (say 4 millions on farms) doing here? - Taking jobs from Geo Romey and his family, who, in the Imperial Valley in CA, line up in ditches along roads with tears streaming down their cheek, seeing "their work" being taken by illegal immigrant types, and denied the work they willingly want to in and day out in a perpetual state of poverty.  Sorry Geo, you won't get 40 hr week, 401k, raises or much of anything else picking lettuce.  Riiiight.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 11, 2017 - 9:10pm
Pardon Dr. Green, typo in your name above.