Immigration Enforcement

Companies Seek H-1B Foreign Worker Primarily Because of Age Discrimination

Ever since 1992, when I started writing about H-1B, I’ve been stressing that not only is H-1B centrally about cheap tech labor, cheap tech labor is in turn centrally about age. Younger workers are cheaper than older ones, both in wages and health insurance costs. Of course, in addition, the younger H-1Bs are even cheaper than the younger Americans.

Result: An employer may hire a 24-year-old H-1B instead of a 24-year-old American, and usually will hire that 24-year-old H-1B instead of a 35-year-old American.

In my article for California Labor & Employment Law Review I showed the stark difference in the computer field:

group 25th percentile median 90th percentile
new grads $45,000 $50,664 $61,500
all workers $65,070 $82,120 $120,410

This is a savings in the 30-50% range, which is larger than the 15-20% difference I found between H-1Bs and Americans of the same age. Getting a young H-1B is of course the best of all from a thrifty (though shortsighted) employer’s point of view, but the savings in hiring the H-1B come even more from the age factor than from the exploitation aspect.

If you have serious interest in the H-1B issue, constantly remind yourself of this fact–the H-1B program is fundamentally about age. Employers use the program as a means of avoiding hiring the older (age 35+) Americans. THE H-1B PROGRAM IS FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT AGE. It is impossible to consider reform, or even academic analysis, of H-1B without having this fundamental issue at the forefront of the discussion.

Which brings me to the CNN video, titled “Students Worry about Economy,” filmed at Georgia Tech.



March 11, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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