Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom--A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at $48 with coupon code "BFRIDAY20" ×
Businesses Government The Almighty Buck Apple IT Technology

US Law Allows Low H-1B Wages; Just Look At Apple (networkworld.com) 237

An anonymous reader writes: If you work at Apple's One Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino as a computer programmer on an H-1B visa, you can can be paid as little as $52,229. That's peanuts in Silicon Valley. Average wages for a programmer in Santa Clara County are more than $93,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the U.S. government will approve visa applications for Silicon Valley programmers at $52,229 -- and, in fact, did so for hundreds of potential visa holders at Apple alone. To be clear, this doesn't mean there are hundreds of programmers at Apple working for that paltry sum. Apple submitted a form to the U.S. saying it was planning on hiring 150 computer programmers beginning June 14 at this wage. But it's not doing that. Instead, this is a paperwork exercise by immigration attorneys to give an employer -- in this case, Apple -- maximum latitude with the H-1B laws. The forms-submittal process doesn't always reflect actual hiring goals or wage levels. Apple didn't want to comment for the story, but it did confirm some things. It says it hires on the basis on qualifications and that all employees -- visa holders and U.S. workers alike -- are paid equitably and it conducts internal studies to back this up. There are bonuses on top of base pay. Apple may not be paying low wages to H-1B workers, but it can pay low wages to visa workers if it wanted. This fact is at the heart of the H-1B battle.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Law Allows Low H-1B Wages; Just Look At Apple

Comments Filter:
  • Explanation (Score:5, Funny)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @01:01PM (#54427927) Homepage Journal
    Apple's next generation replacement for macOS, tvOS, and iOS will be written in PHP.
    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      In one continuous line.

    • Re:Explanation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @05:13PM (#54429689) Journal

      15 years ago, Apple hired me on an H1B, and my starting salary was $140k, then they paid everything to convert my H1B to a green card. None of this includes joining and yearly bonus stock options (at the time, RSU's these days) or yearly cash bonuses. They also paid relocation and first few months of rent in a pre-arranged location.

      I'm not special. There were several dozen of us in the (weekly) new-employee orientation meeting, most of whom were s/w engineers.

      Oh, and I (or rather, my small company, that Apple bought) wrote ILM's digital asset management system for films like Star Wars (ep1), James Bond films, digital commercials etc. mostly in PHP. That sold for $40k/pop... Indeed, just like any language, it's possible to write crap code in PHP, but used properly it's a powerful tool.

      • A 'digital asset management system' keeps track of all the assets, like the cameras, PCs, copying machines, folding chairs, power drills, ladders, forklifts, etc. Correct?

        • Re:Explanation (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @09:52PM (#54431379) Journal

          TL;DR: Not really.

          I'm guessing that's more of an "asset management system". Ours was orientated around the video. As cameras roll, we digitised the footage by tapping into the tape deck monitor output, we had RFID tags on each tape, and we had LTC/VITC timecode from the deck. We therefore had a unique reference for every frame laid down, as it was laid down (ie: there was zero ingest time, which was - and still is to a large extent - an issue with asset management systems).

          The system then sent each frame to a centralised database server that had a webserver on it, and I wrote a streaming (ok, this part was in C :) server and a streaming player for Linux, Mac, and Windows that understood our custom streaming format. There wasn't anything complicated about the format, it was basically motion-JPEG data served from an HTTP interface, so the player would send the URL "http://asset-server/tape-rdid/timecode-from/timecode-to" and get an application/octet-stream back which was each file (common headers stripped), where a file was an individual frame in JPEG form.

          What this let people do was record out in the desert, and have their digital dailies sent back via a satellite upload to home base via rsync, and the team at home base could "see" (we only supported quarter-res images at the time, the internet wasn't as fast as it is now) the footage, reliably locate frames on tapes, and discuss/annotate/create EDL (edit display-list, basically a set of timecode-timecode ranges) sequences and play around with it as if they had the tapes right there, even if it was at a low resolution.

          On a more prosaic all-in-house system, the act of using a Discreet Inferno or Flame system (which controlled the tape decks in a post-production suite) would automatically log footage into our system, so the non-artist types could use our "virtual VTR" system to review and create play-lists which could then be sent to the machine room with the certainty that what they'd composed in their web-browser would be what ended up on the tape that would later be delivered to clients. This freed up a lot of the tape-deck use which could then be put to more profitable use by the post-house.

          There was at least one time when I got a angry phone call from a client who claimed our system was screwing things up. They'd created their EDL for the client using our system and then sent the job to the tape room to be generated, and of course creating that new tape would automatically log the new footage into the system (because it was writing to a tape in a monitored tape deck). They looked at the output footage of the generated tape in their browser, and it wasn't right. After a bit of tracking things down, it turned out the tape room had inserted the wrong master tape, so we saved them the indignity/embarrassment of sending footage from a *competing* client out the door. That alone, in the eyes of the director, was worth the cost of the system.

          We had similar procedures for rendered footage from 3D systems (Shake etc. at the time). Again, everything was collated into shots/scenes etc. on the database server. We had rules that would be applied to directories full of frames that would parse out sequences from arbitrary filenames that were differentiated only by a frame number in the filename. That's actually harder than it looks - there is *no* standard naming convention across post-houses :) I separated out the code into a library, wrote a small commandline utility called 'seqls' which was *very* popular for parsing out a directory of 10,000 files into a string like 'shot-id.capture.1-10000.tiff' ...

          All of this is (I'm sure, I haven't kept up to date) commonplace today, but it was pretty revolutionary at the time. I'd say about 90% of the code was PHP, there were various system daemons in C, there were video players for the major platforms in C/C++ and there was a kernel driver for the linux box in C that handled the incoming video, digitised the audio, and digitised the LTC

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @01:14PM (#54428005) Homepage Journal

    Government benefits from importing cheap labor. Rich landowners (now corporations) benefit from cheap labor. History is replete with rich people trying to get richer by importing slaves and/or indentured servants.

    It never works out well for society in the long run, but in the long run you're dead anyways, so might as well make some more money and bribe some more gov't officials while you're here, right?

    Doesn't matter which political party is in power, doesn't matter whether a politician is a leftist or a rightist, they ALWAYS import more cheap labor... because they want to benefit the rich (and by extension, themselves). Trump ran a campaign saying he will put a stop to this, and now that he's in power he's already he's backpedaling. He's just turning into Clinton Lite. I'll bet you large sums that if Bernie was elected, right about now he will be finding excuses to import more cheap labor too.

    • How many people in the US are staying at jobs they hate because they're terrified of losing health care coverage? ACA lessened that, so no wonder Republicans are desperate to scrap it. Can't have the plebes thinking they can just quit on bad employers, can we?

      • I worked with a lady at a Fast Food restaurant when I was a kid who only stayed because her husband's Meds were paid by her health insurance. The owner caught wind and started working her 60+ hours a week on Salary. So yeah, our health care system gets abused for exactly that purpose.
        • Yep, and I bet that owner justified it all in his head that she was getting more "value" out of the insurance so it's still cheaper for her to work 20 more hours a week than to pay for the meds out of pocket at another job. So he's actually doing her a favor!

      • How many people in the US are staying at jobs they hate because they're terrified of losing health care coverage? ACA lessened that

        The ACA took away the option for catastrophic insurance the poor could get, for a fairly low premium.

        Now trough ACA you get the same $8k deductible for a policy but for a monthly payment that is 10x (or 100x) as much as what you use to pay for the same deductible...

        How is that "lessened"? Now there is even more fear to losing insurance. I feel that personally, before I didn't

        • So maybe I am not up on the nuance of the problems facing some of ACA users. Regardless, the basic point stands. In the US, unlike most of the other developed nations, your medical care is closely linked to your employment which makes job mobility that much harder. It makes it more difficult to report employers for small (or large) violations for fear of reprisal that will affect that medical care. Agreed?

          • So maybe I am not up on the nuance of the problems facing some of ACA users.

            "Some" being "the vast majority".

            A huge reason Trump won is that all of the people forced into the ACA are up on the "nuances" of being shafted by private luxury insurance they are forced to purchase. Not much different than forcing the poor to buy a new Mercedes every year. At least that would get them to an emergency room for free.

            . It makes it more difficult to report employers for small (or large) violations for fear of repris

            • And if you quit, and can't afford to pay for COBRA, or get fired and same?

              See up here in Canada, we pay out of pocket... er.. zero dollars per month for healthcare coverage. If we're employed associated taxes are taken, if we're not, then nothing extra out of pocket. So when switching jobs or thinking of just quitting because your work environment is awful, healthcare coverage doesn't even come into the thought process.

    • Indentured servitude isn't far off. When someone's status in the US is H1, first off they aren't considered a resident of the country. So while they can do something like get a driver's license, they have a lot of problems trying to get loans or credit cards, housing, or even go to school. They have no bargaining power with their employer, they don't have any leverage to ask for a raise or any other benefits because if the employer fires them then they have to leave the country now. My wife doesn't work

    • Consumers pay wages, as the revenue pays your wage.

      Trade tends to improve wealth. I've done the analysis for eliminating Chinese imports of pants and it's pretty hard to not net-loose American jobs unless you pay about minimum wage; that's not the problem, though. The loss or gain of unemployment statistic will buff itself out with labor force growth in a few short years (like 1-3). In all cases, however, you end up with more than doubling the cost of pants--meaning consumers are able to buy less stuf

      • The American consumer buys more of everything than they really need. Unless they are all out there buying pants and completely wearing them out before they buy new pants, there is lots of room for them to simply pay more for the pants and use them longer. This goes for most products. The problem is that Americans can't get over buying the next new shiny/trendy thing. Again, not the end of the world if they are forced to by way of higher prices.
        • Good point.

          Lincoln was a Republican but not exactly a free trade idealog. He would do things contrary to subscribed political ideologies if he felt it would better serve the interest of the people.

          "If I give my wife twenty Dollars, to buy a cloak and she brings one made in free-trade England, we have the cloak but England has the twenty dollars; while if she buys a cloak made in the protected United Slates, we have the cloak and the twenty dollars."

        • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

          Your value system of "they should just buy less" isn't universal. You may think it's a good idea to reduce global economic activity (i.e. buy less stuff) but others, especially those working in any market remotely associated with clothing (retail, marketing, shipping, textiles) who want jobs obviously want consumers to buy more.

          It's what I tell my mom every time she complains about how much tech gadgets Americans buy (old Chinese lady). Global economics doesn't hit home until I tell her "I wouldn't have a j

          • The last clothing store I went to had one person working the floor and register. Are they going to staff with 1/3 of a person? They will be making the same profit, so what will be their motivation to cut their poor person into pieces?
        • They're economizing their time. They could spend hours repairing their clothes, or buy new clothes when theirs start to fray. My clothes fray after a couple years and need replacement or reconstruction.

          Here's the thing: I spent $18 on a shirt from China. I don't want to spend $157 on a shirt from America 2 years later when that shirt has a small hole worn in it from being worn two days a week and washed once per week. I also don't want to spend $15 on a spool of thread that's going to last forever, $9

          • Read my words. Most people are done with that shirt before it has a hole in it, because of the perception that it is out of style. Plus even my cheapest T-shirts last 5-7 years, and I have cats that tear into them frequently.
      • Your analysis ignores that those lower wages paid to workers also reduce the purchasing power of those workers, who are also your customers.

        So while the device may be cheaper in absolute dollars, it's still "expensive" thanks to lower overall pay.

        That's the problem with applying microeconomics to macroeconomics - The former is an open system and the latter is mostly a closed system (imports & exports make up a tiny fraction of US GDP, so you're mostly selling from US companies to US consumers).

        Your anal

    • Actually it isn't that simple. Price competition exists in every market. That includes the labor market. There are many highly intelligent people all over the world who would happily work for far less than $93000. It really is an insane amount of money for a relatively easy (from an intellectual pov) job. American workers who make that much really are in a union like situation where for whatever reason the price of their labor is being kept artificially high. Obviously some (the ones with jobs) American pro

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      Government benefits from importing cheap labor. Rich landowners (now corporations) benefit from cheap labor. History is replete with rich people trying to get richer by importing slaves and/or indentured servants.

      It never works out well for society in the long run, but in the long run you're dead anyways, so might as well make some more money and bribe some more gov't officials while you're here, right?

      Doesn't matter which political party is in power, doesn't matter whether a politician is a leftist or a rightist, they ALWAYS import more cheap labor... because they want to benefit the rich (and by extension, themselves). Trump ran a campaign saying he will put a stop to this, and now that he's in power he's already he's backpedaling. He's just turning into Clinton Lite. I'll bet you large sums that if Bernie was elected, right about now he will be finding excuses to import more cheap labor too.

      The US is a country of immigrants. When new immigrants come in, the pre-existing immigrants generally find themselves on a higher rung of the economic ladder. Everyone here before is in a slightly better position. This is often not a quick process, and can take several generations. These immigrants, while cheaper than existing workers, are generally considered to be a net benefit at some point. Some immigration is good. Nobody today would seriously argue that Irish immigrants to the US in the 1860s-19

    • Bingo, that's it. You win slashdot for today.

      Oh, and BTW for the original headline- what is "Allowed by law" and what is "allowed by overworked bureaucrats bribed under the table" are two vastly different things.

  • The cost of living in the bay area is demonstrably bananas ( that's the technical term ). By offering depressed wages, they're simply trying to do their part to make the bay area more affordable to the common man. :D

  • Luckily, all this H-1B abuse will be a thing of the past, once Trump "drains the swamp".

    If only he could get all those press alligators off his back...

    #meetthenewboss

  • Yea, we already know this. It would be better to report that the H1B program is either dismantled at most or at least fix it to where things like this no longer happen.

  • Immigration (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How about we just allow these H1B candidates to immigrate? Then they can be citizens and pay taxes on whatever salary they accept. They might even buy some foreclosed houses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jzanu ( 668651 )

      How about we just allow these H1B candidates to immigrate? Then they can be citizens and pay taxes on whatever salary they accept. They might even buy some foreclosed houses.

      That is the most practical solution ending the problem of visa-based slavery, but I doubt the Americans will ever do it. They idolize Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their greater materialism, and wish to inculcate the same mistreatment of workers - especially "foreign" workers. That allows their politicians to wag the dog and blame the other for the systemic economic problems they fail to address.

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @01:21PM (#54428063)

    L visas let the employer pay the foreign employee's home town wage for up to a year while in the US. When I lived in China for a couple of years I interviewed with the local IBM office about database consulting. They wanted to fly me to the US on an L visa while paying the local wage of about $1K USD which would be OK there in town but not in L.A. The hiring manager assured me on the 3rd level interview that they did it all the time and it was no problem. Then I mentioned that as a US citizen I couldn't be sent on any kind of visa and I couldn't work in the US for sub-minimum wage. He hung up and I couldn't get him to answer when I called back. Since they wanted to hire and send me immediately but an L visa requires a prior year of employment, minimum, they were obviously quite handy at lying on the paperwork. Think about this the next time big blue sends in a consultant from another country.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @01:22PM (#54428069)
    there's training. An H1-B comes from a country where the cost of living is a fraction of mine. You could triple those wages and they'd still be a good value for the money.

    The program needs to be shut down. It was created to solve a labor shortage that never existed. Companies just don't want to train. If you want to work in America you invest in America. If you don't like it you can leave. We've got plenty of everything anyone would want.
  • Raise the wage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by byteherder ( 722785 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @01:30PM (#54428145)
    If companies would be required to pay at least $120,000 as one bill in the House requires, all the H1b problems go away.

    Tech companies don't want to do this.

    Why don't we just bring back slavery? It would be more honest.
    • but $120k isn't nearly enough. Training is expensive, and these people come pre-trained on the cheap thanks to the crazy low cost of living in their countries (supported by a massive underclass, no safety net and no environmental or employee protections).

      These are suppose to be the best and brightest the world has to offer. Either that or employees that are so desperately needed that training isn't an option. Start at $300k/yr and adjust for double inflation (so they can't cheat there too). That's about
      • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @03:09PM (#54428841) Homepage

        but $120k isn't nearly enough. Training is expensive, and these people come pre-trained on the cheap thanks to the crazy low cost of living in their countries (supported by a massive underclass, no safety net and no environmental or employee protections). These are suppose to be the best and brightest the world has to offer. Either that or employees that are so desperately needed that training isn't an option. Start at $300k/yr and adjust for double inflation (so they can't cheat there too). That's about what a PH D in a profitable field makes, right?

        I think $120k, with control for future inflation, is about right. I have worked for several international companies. They all invariably needed to bring in compliance officers, liaisons to the home office, and similar positions. You really need someone with experience and clout back at the home country. A local person, even one fluent in the language, is not an effective advocate. There would only be a couple of these types of roles in the $100-150k range, all the other employees would be locals (but paid similarly). $300k is too high and would put a damper on investment and hinder international business.

    • Why don't we just bring back slavery? It would be more honest.

      This is even more insidious than slavery because they have tricked people into begging for these shitty jobs and thus working their asses off to keep the job. To make the deal even sweeter for companies, they don't have to provide housing for them and when they don't/can't work as hard as they used to, you just send them back and get another.

      Modern wage slavery is diabolical.

      • This is even more insidious than slavery because they have tricked people into begging for these shitty jobs

        You're getting more than a little hyperbolic. Do you know any H1-B employees? They aren't tricked, they knew what they were doing and nearly all of them not only would but will do it again. There are problems with the system, sure, but wild claims like yours really don't help your case, they just encourage people to dismiss you out of hand.

    • Silicon Valley says it is hiring the best engineers. Why are they almost all Indians?

      We should be studying Indian culture and the Indian education system to determine what is superior about their culture and education so that we can replication their success in the United States. Americans need to become more like the Indians in order for us to succeed in the world engineering market.

  • h1b visas are transferrable. if your skills are worth $2k/y more than you're paid (roughly cost of transfer, if that) you can find a better paying job within a couple of weeks.

  • This is sensationalist bullshit. Apple is not hiring software engineers in the valley for anywhere close to $52k. Infosys, Tata, et al. import bargain basement engineers. Apple is bringing in the top talent, and those people have no problem finding another employer to sponsor their H-1B if they want to job hop.

    As a software engineer, I want H-1B engineers to come work at Apple in the valley. They start or strengthen companies here which then leads to more demand for engineers, and that's a huge plus to my m

    • Why is "the best talent" almost always Indian? Which Indian companies should we be afraid of out competing our American companies?

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @01:43PM (#54428251)

    If H-1B visas really are used to hire the best, brightest, and most rare talents - then a minimum wage of $150k/year should be no problem.

    This would solve the problem instantly.

    However, I suspect that instead of asking for larger H-1B visa caps, most H-1B visas would go unused.

  • You don't say? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @02:25PM (#54428547)

    Low wages is the entire point of the H1B program.

  • Visas should only be allowed for positions posted with a salary of $250,000 or higher. There's plenty of qualified and/or trainable talent for jobs under that level.

    Placement companies should get 1% of the annual take home pay for the candidate upon retention. One payment, one time.

    By taking away the low cost incentive to the hiring companies and the huge profit from the consulting company the visa program will dwindle pretty quickly.

  • No, it isn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @04:08PM (#54429295) Journal
    "but it can pay low wages to visa workers if it wanted. This fact is at the heart of the H-1B battle."

    No. This battle is not just about the wages paid the H-1B workers, it is allowing allowing there to be any H-1B workers if there are US workers who could perform the task at any price or do so with reasonable training (in high tech environments new employees generally need up to 12 months to get up to full speed).

    H1B workers should not be allowed in to keep current wage levels, to reduce leverage skilled employees have in the local free market, and certainly not to replace/displace local workers. H1B workers are for when local talent does not exist. Period. The same is also true of the back door using accelerated degrees from foreign nations to get student student visas for US grad schools. US schools might be willing to sell out since these students pay max tuition and US companies having programs which then pay for/reimburse the education costs might make this feasible but it isn't in the overall interest of the United States.

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.

Working...