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RE: Halff the story............

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Is there something in the water??? I thought this was an Engineering list
server not a personal attack Stan (or anyone else) listserver???  Are we not
professional or smart enough to seperate out the issue we want to talk about
without "trashing" someone in particular... To me a rant about H1-B visas
and their pros and cons would be much more effective than a "Stan is a ***"
rant like this... FWIW, your own statements about what Stan said contradict
what you cut and paste from Stan's note...

Stan ==> "it turned out that we have hired a few foreign-born engineers with
American MSCE degrees over the past decade or so"

Bob ==> "These are not American-born full-time permanent employees as Stan

Last I checked "foreign-born engineers" (in the context of a US firm)
indicates that they may not be "American-born"... Am I missing something

Also FWIW, if these people just got out of school (in 1999) and you claim
their $29k salary was half of the starting salary of a CE... I would have to
think your head is in la-la land... Any stats to back that up?  if New CEs
were making $58k out of school TODAY then I would be completely surprised,
let alone 4 years ago.

Also I am sure Stan is not reading this message as the server issue on
August 2 left several people unsubscribed (including myself) and he probably
has not resubscribed yet...

Off to my Trash Bin,
Greg Effland, P.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rbengrguy(--nospam--at) [mailto:Rbengrguy(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 7:23 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Halff the story............

> Attention  SEAINT:
> I hope to wake-up some people.  Too many of you remain silent.  Some of
you might be a bit upset with the following message,  but  I'm, OK with
that.  If I have to upset some individuals to get them going I can live with
that too!  Maybe I'm a pain in some people's asses but I'm trying to get
structural engineers active in the issue that follows. We CANNOT be
complacent because the issue does affect us.  Too many of you want to remain
blind to the changing economic world around you. 
> For those of you reluctant to post  -  Please   PLEASE join in the
discussion.  We do not need to go one up on each other.  This message is
about sharing information and ideas.  Just join in and let me  know what you
think about my message.  If you are critical of my comments,  let me have
it.   I think I can take your criticism.   Of course I will greatly
appreciate your positive,  encouraging remarks.
> Bob  Johnson
> ================================================================
> I been following the H-1B  issue for over five years with Information
Technology (IT)   workers and  engineers.  Daily I receive 100+++  messages
from very disgruntled  and outspoken   IT workers.  Seems our own government
and corporate interests have sold them  (IT workers) to the cheap labor
market.  Engineers  of ALL disciplines are also being affected

> suggested reading:
> It was therefore with great interest I read a recent post by Mr. Stan
> Stan Caldwell's claims (quoted below) that his firm - Halff Associates
never hired an H-1B  non-immigrant employee requires a rebuttal.   I beg to
differ as the government database claims otherwise.   Which/ WHO  is
correct???   What is interesting is that these  H-1B applications (a matter
of public record) must go through two stages to obtain approval for
employment and the H-1B database is valid for individuals that were hired,
not for intent to hire.  Most of you should  be aware that the purpose of
the H-1B program is to provide labor where equivalent qualified labor cannot
be found. I find it difficult to believe  that Halff Associates could not
find Civil Engineering professionals in the Dallas area or from other areas
who would move to any of their Texas based offices where there is certainly
affordable housing as Stan suggested in his e-mail to the listservice.
Often heard is the claims of technical - engineer shortages when really what
there is,  is a shortage of cheap labor.    Some even refer to this as ESP
[Engineer Shortage Propaganda]
> ref:
> H-1B  visas are contracts with specific employees from other countries and
are not transferable. In other words, the database listing is an approved
application where a specific engineer from another country was granted
access to enter the United States to work ONLY for the specified company. If
their contract is terminated, the firm would be responsible for the
remainder of the contracted term and the employee would be obligated to
leave the United States. While there are legal firms representing H-1B
employees to convert non-immigrant status to green-card status, it is
generally done while the professional is in the US working as a
non-immigrant status employee. If terminated, the conversion is not
possible, nor is the transfer of their H-1B contract transferable to another
firm unless the application processes are completed before termination.  The
H-1B process can be very difficult to the individual and there are numerous
horror stories about the process.  The program is  routinely abused as the
U.S. government fails to enforce its own regulations.
> So for the sake of arguments, lets stick just with Stan's explanation of
the "trashing" that he claims was done to Halff Associates at the   H-1B
"Hall of Shame" website.   I am not trying to  "TRASH" Halff,  Caldwell nor
any  other unnamed engineering firms that are using [abusing] the H-1B
program to supplement their workforce with cheap labor.  H-1B  visa  holders
that may be on this listservice  should not consider this a  personal attack
on you.  Some of  you may not even realize you are being abused by the
> "I am not aware of even a single American structural engineer who has lost
his/her job as a result of H-1B.  My firm (Halff Associates) has been
trashed on the "hall of shame" website for hiring H-1B workers.  When I
researched this to find what great crime we had committed, it turned out
that we have hired a few foreign-born engineers with American MSCE degrees
over the past decade or so.  They were hired based on their qualifications,
as full-time permanent employees with salaries and benefits entirely equal
to their American-born counterparts.  Some have grown to become principals
in the firm.  How can anyone criticize that? "
> Stan Caldwell - e-mail to SEAINT on 7/28/2003 - Subject:"Re: Future
Generations of Engineers"
> Now lets look at the government data base and search on Halff Associates.
The link is located below so you can check other firms.  You might want to
see if your firm is listed.   In 1999 they [Halff Associates] submitted
applications for 5 H-1B status non-immigrant employees in Dallas, Texas to
start on 1/9/1999 (one employee) and 1/17/1999 (the other four employees)
with termination to be on 1/1/01. They were hired at a salary of $29,820 a
year for a Civil Engineer - about 1/2 of the pay for a professional engineer
fresh out of school as Stan has stated in past posts. If Halff finds that
they can not use these employees they are obligated to pay the rest of the
contract due and to send the employee back to his/her country of origin.
> The employee must also be a professional in the field chosen (Civil
Engineer) and can not be a nonprofessional status employee like a clerk or
secretary - their background must be in a professional level field. This is
a well thought out plan to hire a non-immigrant status employee and requires
"a Labor Condition Application  (LCA) on behalf of the applicant from
Department of Labor before petition can be filed". After this is approved an
application for employment of a "specific" H-1B applicant must be filed and
the employee is allowed temporary entrance into the country to work only for
that company.  If the employee is terminated he/she shall return at once to
the country of origin.
> These are not American-born full-time permanent employees as Stan claims.
They may have an American MSCE but have returned to their country of origin
after college in order to return under the H-1B provision. Companies
employing H-1B non-immigrants may file an extension to all the employee to
work as long as six years, during which time, there are many legal firms
helping these non-immigrants obtain a green card to stay within the United
> Stan also suggests that no American born structural engineer ever lost
their jobs because of the H-1B program, but from the five approved
applications in 1999, five American Born Structural Engineers were denied
work in favor of five H-1B non-immigrant status professionals. The salaries
contracted by Halff were supposed to represent equivalent salaries that
Halff paid for equivalent professional civil engineers - which is about
Halff of what Stan claims a graduate receives directly out of school. One of
the games that are played by firms hiring non-immigrant employees is to
falsely claim what they paid local American professionals.   Numerous
studies have shown the H-1B workers are paid upwards of 1/3 less than their
American counterparts.  This is in opposition to the intent of the H-1B
visas law but the US government fails to act on this abuses in the program.

> You may verify this information by doing an advance search on Halff
Associates  (or your firm)  on the Labor Condition Application   (LCA)
Database and listing H-1B applications in the advance search. The website
address is     The search is fairly easy. I
would recommend searching using your firm's name,  Occupation - Engineer:
Civil and your state  or city.   This will greatly speed the search.
> If your firm is not listed it may be listed with a slightly different
spelling so do a search  using occupation ENGINEER  -  Civil,   your city
and state.  You will then  have to scroll  through the many firms that might
be posted.  
> As for actual engineers who have lost their jobs to H-1B employees, this
would be very hard to determine as employee personnel records are protected
as private information and are not made public without a court order. I know
of many information technology workers and  engineers who lost their jobs
due to layoffs from firms that hire H-1B non-immigrant employees but would
not be able to release this information to you as it would violate their
confidence in me.   Still some are a matter of public record  as they have
filed lawsuits  for wrongful termination.  These stories are told in a host
of news articles.  One such computer engineer is Guy Santiglia who
unsuccessfully sued MICROSOFT.  Another individual is Pete Bennett  who
hosts a website called
> I would hope that any engineer who has succumbed to a layoff where an H-1B
employee remained in the firm might volunteer this information on your own.
In recent weeks I have received several inquires from reporters at
newspapers and televisions stations looking for cases where American workers
have been terminated all the while the temporary foreign worker  (H-1B)
remains.    Structural engineer Richard Weingardt was looking for  such
cases in conjunction with the piece he wrote on H-1B, outsourcing
> that appears in the July issue of Structural Enginering.  Some of you
might have even read some  of these stories that have appeared in the press.
It is starting to get on the radar screen of the media  as they see the
abuses in the H-1B program.  When asked to keep the information
confidential, they  (the media)  have chosen to not disclose personal
> I guess it comes down to whom you believe. I think the fact that H-1B
employees were hired in lieu of capable engineers in the Texas and large
cities is sufficient to believe that something is amiss in Stan's claim.
> Throughout  the country H-1B workers remain while hundreds of thousands of
American's are out of work.  By some accounts there may be as many a ONE
MILLION H-1B  workers still here!!!
> H-1B workers are also at risk.  Horror stories about the program abound:
> Here is a definition of the difference in H-1b status to green card. If
you wish to read the green card section, please see the following web page:
> H-1B definition:
> "The H-1B is (technically) considered a "nonimmigrant" visa. H1-B holders
are essentially indentured to their employers, since their legal right to
remain and work in the United States depends on their employment. H-1B
allows applicants with professional or specialized employment backgrounds to
obtain employment in the U.S. for an initial three year period. Applicants
can obtain a three year extension for a total stay of six years. The H-1B
employer must first obtain a Labor Condition Application on behalf of the
applicant from Department of Labor before petition can be filed.
> H-1B admits people haphazardly into the country, then fails to grant them
full rights as potential citizens. The result is a vulnerable caste of
workers laboring in the hope of getting green cards and serving as a base of
cheaper labor to replace workers who companies don't want to pay to retrain.
> The Green Card is a U.S. visa for permanent residency. The green card
process takes 5 years or more. After getting a green card, the worker is
eligible to become a naturalized US citizen after 5 years. Most of them do
so. Legal permanent residents, like U.S. citizens, are free agents in the
U.S. economy. They can look for work, bargain for wages,  and change jobs
just as any U.S. citizen.
> The green card procedure itself has several different categories. The
best, from the worker's point of view, is EB-1, the so-called National
Interest Waiver. If the worker can document that he is of truly exceptional
talent, i.e. world-class, he can actually sponsor himself for a green card,
thereby avoiding the indentured-servant problem. There are also the EB-2 and
EB-3 green card categories, which are employer-sponsored."
> The link to this page is:
> In my opinion, based on the research work I've done  (I've been
researching H-1B visas for over five years)  to find this information, Stan
is, as usual, providing us with only Halff truths and withholding other
information. Stan and NCSEA are specifically mentioned on the web site in
the following claim. I personally have only the facts that the company's
named have hired H-1B employees as are many others not claimed. If this is
not true, I would recommend that Stan and the Directors/ Officers of  NCSEA
as well as all of the mentioned firms  (in the  /  LCA
database)  file an injunction against the webmaster in order to remove the
allegation and issue a public retraction.  If this information as posted on
the  website is incorrect then my arguments are invalid.  
> So who is  telling the truth???   You do you believe???
> The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations claims that they
represent the interests of civil and structural engineers. Their website
doesn't even mention H-1B so one might assume that they don't care about the
issue. NCSEA ducks the issue of H-1B and so far has denied that H-1B has any
affect on Structural or Civil engineers. The NCSEA is one of the few
engineering associations that doesn't have a position statement on H-1B.
> Many organizations like the NCSEA purport to represent engineers when in
fact they are a lobby group for engineering companies and HR departments -
not working engineers. Working engineers will get a rude surprise when they
ask NCSEA for support on the H-1B issue, especially since so many of them
are being replaced by H-1Bs. 
> Since this organization won't discuss H-1B, they must be judged by looking
at who their officers are. The NCSEA may avoid the issue publicly, but
privately many of their top members are quite active in the H-1B business. 
> Stan R. Caldwell, Chairman, NCSEA Advocacy Committee, said that they are
H-1B agnostics. [54] Caldwell and the many of the officers of NCSEA appear
more like true believers when the facts are examined. The companies they own
or work for hire numerous H-1Bs. Some of their companies include KPFF
Consulting Engineers, DeStefano Associates, Halff Associates, Gilsanz,
Murray, Steficek, and EQE International. [2] They hire H-1Bs for architects,
and civil and structural engineers.
> The political lobbying of some of their members is disturbing also. Jesse
Covarrubias, acting for Structural Engineering Associates, gave a $1000 PAC
money contribution to shortage shouter lobbyists, the America Council of
Engineering Companies (ACEC), on 11/8/2000. [53] Structural Engineering
Associates hires H-1Bs so the connection here seems rather obvious. 
> These people choose to duck the H-1B issue because they have a direct
financial interest in hiring them. The NCSEA has it's hand in the H-1B
cookie jar and should confess what their true religion is.
> Reference:
> There is a great deal to learn on the website that can
educate American engineers (of all engineering fields) as to their
vulnerability in this profession and suggest you read them.
> There are many other newer websites devoted to this issue too!.
>       Fantastic resource!!!   You can even
download television reports on the H-1B,  outsourcing issue!!!!!!
> (Our own government is selling you out!)
> A few final comments related to layoffs of American Employees. This is
becoming  a very hot topic with articles appearing in TIME, Business Week,
and a host of daily newspapers.
> Check the following for new concerns:
> It behooves  structural engineers to become aware of what is happening in
the American business community.  President Bush recently stated in a press
conference that the problem with unemployment may be with inadequate worker
skills.   He eludes that foreign workers have more skills in the new
economy.   I guess some of you  may need more training???   Or is the
President misguided on the issue of  high unemployment amongst
technology/engineering workers.
> Please see  [URGENT]  the following:
> Still unsure about the H-1B  issue?
> You problably won't read about in NSPE, ASCE,  NCSEA   publications.
> But check out what IEEE-USA  has to say on their website:
> Now let me have it!!    and start the 
> discussion...........................................   
> Sincerely,
> Bob Johnson............ 
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