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Try this url.Everytime I post this story it disappears. Must be some kind of conspiracy!

-- Martin Thompson (, November 21, 2000


Part 2 Shortened version.

Demand for H-1B visas spawns fraud, abuse in India Out of the appetite for U.S. jobs among Indian workers has emerged a predatory culture of fraud and forgery that labor, police and diplomatic officials are only beginning to address.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------- STORY BY MARK MCDONALD | MERCURY NEWS

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

CHENNAI, India -- They come from cities and villages all over southern India, arriving in the pre-dawn darkness to find a place in line on the sidewalk. They wait quietly, snoozing in the humidity or eating from little packets of rice and paper cups of homemade yogurt. Every now and then, fidgeting, and just to make sure, they re-check their papers and passports.

By mid-morning, when the side door to the U.S. Consulate General finally opens, there are several hundred people in line, and sometimes as many as 2,000. Many have come to apply for an H-1B visa, the category that allows certain specialty workers to live in the United States for as long as six years at a time. H-1B applicants must be sponsored by U.S. companies, and virtually all the H-1B visas given to Indians are for positions in high tech.

Rest of story at

-- Martin Thompson (, November 21, 2000.

Letters to the editor

11/13/2000 Money and Respect

Your online article ["Report: Feds must work on IT worker shortage,", Oct. 26] ignores the simplest solutions. Just have employers (1) pay big money for IT workers and (2) give them respect.

If the employers paid enough, the training would take care of itself. If the employers respected their people, they would give them enough time off so that they could get their own training.

If the employers gave their people respect, [employees] would not have to move every few years and waste so much of their experience with business rules.

Instead, the report suggests H-1B programs and such that are nothing more than a license to victimize foreign workers.

Bruce Gaff Agency withheld

Stuck in Stovepipes

As a current member of the civil service, I am appalled that there is any mention of an IT personnel shortage. Part of the problem is that the civil-service sector "stove-pipes," labeling current civil servants into a career program. Once you are in a field, you really canít get out of it.

I am currently in the finance field and have been very successful. I previously volunteered to develop a database system for my agency command. I was able to build the program and, with the help of others, get the system up and running.

I loved working on that program. I found it challenging and rewarding. I followed up by taking courses and attempting to stay current within the IT field.

However, I have been unsuccessful in getting a job within the IT community. I have had a few interviews. The feedback I get from these interviews is that I did a great interview, but I donít have the extensive experience they want.

I do not feel there really is a current IT personnel shortage, particularly since this community has not exhausted all ave-nues for quality personnel.

Currently, private-sector companies have found that people with no previous IT experience can be successful within the IT community. Why has the current talent pool within civil service been overlooked? We are more likely to stay within the government service, have already established good work ethics and are stable workers.

Before allowing visas and green cards for foreign workers, how about trying the current workforce? There is currently an untapped resource sitting right before government managers. Instead of discouraging it, why not use it to their advantage?

Meg Green Agency withheld

Itís All About Money

This report did not address the reason that the government cannot get or retain employees: Itís all about money.

You have got to try and keep the ones you have and to at least interest potential employees. Salaries donít have to be right in line with the private sector, but they need to be closer. Other areas that could help a good deal would include perks such as regular salary increases, telecommuting and training new people from non-IT areas, including older employees who have more vested in the government.

Bringing in more foreigners will do nothing more than create more job- hopping. Why would the foreigner stay any longer than anyone else?

I am constantly amazed at all the other ideas that are being passed around while the very reason people leave is because they will not pay better salaries to IT staff.

Cynthia Hestand Agency withheld

The Cost of Ignorance

I am really tired of seeing in the headlines this IT worker shortage. There is no shortage: It is a mismanagement of resources and a disgrace to the profession how IT workers are treated.

Technology changes, and if you think training is expensive, add up the cost of ignorance. Until people in charge, namely the Office of Personnel Management, get their act together and classify the communications and information occupational series as a professional series, no young talented and educated person will be recruited. I wouldnít be interested.

I have six years left before retirement. I have been downgraded and never re-promoted in the past 14 years. I have an undergraduate degree in mathematics and two masterís degrees. I have tried for and applied for other jobs. I am also an African-American female. This career field is mostly Caucasian males.

Yes, I am angry and, yes, I believe in freedom of speech. When you print [a story] about an IT worker shortage, get the facts: Ask the people who work in the career field what is really going on.

Name withheld by request

-- Martin Thompson (, November 21, 2000.

Thank you, Martin.

You can always demand a recount if your story disappears. Blame the chads!

-- K (, November 21, 2000.

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