Created: 1995. Updated: 16 September, 2002


High-tech H-1B Visa Age Discrimination Against American Workers

EcoFuture ™

The H-1B Visa program brings "temporary" high-tech foreign workers (computer scientists and programmers) to the U.S. to fill an alleged "shortage" of American Information Technology (IT) workers. The high-tech industry vociferously lobbies Congress for increases in the number of H-1B workers. But the shortage is a myth.
The H-1B Visa program directly causes displacement of and age discrimination against American workers. This includes not only high-tech workers, but also accountants, administrators, engineers, technicians, doctors, nurses, and other categories. The result is devastation of lives and careers, all for the benefit of greedy corporate interests seeking cheap, docile, foreign labor.
There is not now, nor has there ever been, a shortage of IT workers in the United States. But the H1B system is hard at work creating such a shortage. As IT professionals who have major investments in their skills are forced out of technology and into other areas or forced to accept low wages that are not in line with such investments in education then there will be no such future investments.
Nobel economist Milton Friedman scoffs at the idea of the government stocking a farm system for the likes of Microsoft and Intel. "There is no doubt," he says, "that the [H-1B] program is a benefit to their employers, enabling them to get workers at a lower wage, and to that extent, it is a subsidy." Former Cato economist Steve Moore stated "Well, this is one of those wink-and-a-nod programs. Everybody expects most of these workers to stay." Laying off thousands of U.S. citizens and green-card holders while retaining "temporary" foreign workers adds fuel to a growing anger. So call the H-1B visa what it is: a subsidy that runs counter to the real interests of both IT workers and free-market thinkers. -- H-1B Is Just Another Gov't. Subsidy, by Paul Donnelly, Computerworld, July 22, 2002
  • Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage, by Professor Norm Matloff, exposes how the high-tech H1-B visa system directly causes displacement and age discrimination of American workers. See FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions, and data sources, references and links.
    Subscribe to Prof. Matloff's very informative email information list by sending an email to (First delete "fluff" in the email address. This is to prevent spambot email address harvesting).
  • Programmer's Guild
    The Programmer's Guild opposes the H-1B program.
  • Petition Do you think it should be legal to fire Americans and replace them with foreign guest workers? If not, let Congress now that you want to end the H-1B program by signing the Petition to Abolish the H-1B Program. This is a real petition, submitted to Congress.
  • H1-B Hall of Shame includes H-1B Facts and FAQs, history, horror stories, links, research, newspaper articles and more.

  • AutomationMatrix presents facts and charts on numbers of foreign workers, companies requesting them, and salary levels of displaced professions.
  • Find Which Companies Are Hiring Foreign Replacement Workers and what kind of jobs they are taking.
  • Hire American Citizens. Congress sold our high-tech jobs to foreigners and industry lobbyists. Companies continue to import foreigners at the same time they are laying-off Americans. Also see: amazing facts and refutation of common arguments in favor of H-1B foreign labor, and links for eye-opening articles and information.
  • The Coalition for the Future American Worker, representing the interests of American workers and students in the formulation of immigration policy.
  • Rep. Tom Tancredo's H-1B related excerpt from his speech presented on the floor of the House of Representatives. Also, see his statement on the H-1B program: "The H-1B program is not necessary and actually is harmful to our nation's interests." Also see the article Do we need as many H-1B visas? NO!
  • H1B Visa Sucks solutions and discussion forum.
  • Evidence of H-1B misuse, focusing on California.
  • A few of the organizations critical of the H-1B program:
  • Background articles:
    • It's Time to Throttle Back on H1-B , eWeek, June 24, 2002
      ...continuing to import large numbers of foreign IT workers in the current economic downturn makes little sense. It serves only to pervert the dynamics of the market for IT talent, making it seem futile for IT professionals to acquire new skills and helping many employers avoid taking responsibility for retraining IT staffs. Legislators should accelerate the schedule for lowering the H1-B cap to its pre-1998 level of 65,000 - now due to take place next year. We urge legislators to re-evaluate the program and to seriously consider HR 3222, legislation proposed by Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., now before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. That bill would reduce the H1-B cap to 65,000 per year and tie future increases to the unemployment rate. At the same time, employers must get serious about helping the growing population of unemployed and underemployed IT professionals gain the new skills they say they need.
    • Storm Clouds Rise Over H1-B, eWeek, June 28, 2002
      So, is the controversial H1-B visa program about to sail into the sunset, another victim of the sour economy? Don't count on it, experts say. Although IT industry lobbyists and other backers of the H1-B program are quiet on the topic now, this may be the calm before the storm. Support for sustaining or even increasing the current number of H1-B visas is almost certain to rise before the 2004 deadline. Backers of H1-B increases "think the best thing they can do is to shut up about this and look for an opportunity next year to sneak it through," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo
    • Anti-H1-B Congressman Plans Strategy , eWeek, June 24, 2002
    • Outsourcing Losing Out to Cheap Labor, eWeek, May 13, 2002
    • H-1B Is Just Another Gov't. Subsidy, by Paul Donnelly, Computerworld, July 22, 2002
    • Qwest Replaces American Citizens with Foreigners, Sierra Times, May 16, 2002
    • Qwest's overseas hires irk workers, May 11, 2002
      "We're going to get a complete picture of the destructive mess of Qwest's downsizing. It's nothing but an example of corporate greed, shattered lives, shattered communities."

What can you do?
  1. Sign the above petition to abolish the H-1B program.
  2. Go to Establish a userid and then quickly send pre-written faxes to Congress for free. is very effective in their campaigns.
  3. Subscribe to Prof. Matloff's announcement and alert listserv which often includes action items on writing letters to the editor. Send an email to (First delete "fluff" in the email address. This is to prevent spambot email address harvesting).
  4. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspapers. This is important because editors monitor LTEs to see what topics are "hot" and deserve more coverage, they increase public awareness of the issue, and Congressional offices monitor LTEs to determine how their constituents feel about key issues.
  5. Write Congress. Find out who your Representative and Senators are at

There is indeed salary exploitation in many cases, but that is not the central issue. The central issue is age discrimination. Even if employers were to give full salary parity to H-1Bs, they still would prefer to hire young H-1Bs over older U.S. Citizens and permanent residents. Employers would still prefer hiring a 25-year-old H-1B to a 45-year-old American, even if they pay the 25-year-old H-1B the same as 25-year-old Americans.
        Dr. Norman Matloff, Department of Computer
        Science, University of California at Davis


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Copyright 1995-2003 Fred Elbel. This material may be freely used and distributed only for non-commercial purposes, with credit. Trademarks and copyrighted items remain the property of the owner.