I have been seeing a lot of job requirements coming to my Inbox lately that have in their subject-line "US CITIZENS ONLY" in capital letters. Just in case you missed it there, the statement is repeated in screaming big, bold, underlined font in the first line of the message. These come from recruiters who have me in their databases, often from many years ago. The skills they are seeking are relatively new technologies so the age group that is most likely to have them would be in the early to mid-twenties. For a really esoteric mix of skills a recruiter will add "Green Cards and Citizens Only. Absolutely no visas (H-1 or EAD)" figuring that compromise will widen the net and result in making a hire more quickly.
I can't help feeling bemused at these emails, especially in light of today's tough job market. The immigrants in the technology business who are required to go through what is sometimes a decade long obstacle course to get a Green Card have very limited ability to change jobs or work in cutting-edge technologies. They seek out the safest jobs they can which are usually also the ones where investment in technology innovation is minimal to absent.
The law requires them to remain in the same position and same pay level at which they were originally sponsored by their employer. Should they decide to change either job responsibilities or pay, they will need to restart the permanent residency process, give up their hard-earned spot in the queue. Several Indian and Chinese techies of my acquaintance have been at the same job for close to ten years because they hesitate to rock the boat and derail the entire immigration process. The decision to put roots in America is often at the cost of sacrificing their career aspirations entirely. Yet it is the price many immigrants are willing to pay for the American Dream — in hopes for a better life for their children.
By the time these folks do become eligible to apply for jobs that expressly shun all work visas, they no longer have the skills necessary to qualify for them. Then we have the locals who see little hope of making a viable career in the technology business given the rampant outsourcing culture in corporate America. Why would they go into deep student loan induced debt in the process of getting a degree in computer science if they are almost guaranteed to be displaced by a foreign worker within a few years.