Tuesday, February 24, 2015

H-1B Debate February 2014

All, here is the latest news on the H-1B visa program in the United States. The H-1B visa program lets people from foreign countries work in the United States in professions where there is a identified "skills shortage."  The program is controversial because US born workers contend H-1B workers take their jobs and work for lower wages. Supports say the lack of employees is holding back growth as key positions go unfilled.

The goal of the original program was to provide temporary workers with critical skills to support growth in US industries.  These industries supply jobs to millions, so the thinking was, fill a key position and others will get jobs. A similar situation would be to provide a critical part to enable a machine to function.

However, large corporations and outsourcing companies have instead used the H-1B visa program to replace seasoned and high earning US IT workers with cheaper and younger foreign workers. 

The H-1B visa program has gained wider recognition in the news lately because Southern California Edison laid off 400 IT workers and replaced them with on-site H-1Bs.  The story was first reported in computerworld by Patrick Thibodeau.  Also, the comments on any H-1B story are enlightening. Some can be pretty nasty.

Note: I have been following the H-1B debate for years.  It has personally affected me twice.  


Here are the detailed computer world columns

The story is even more interesting since the re-organization that led to the outsourcing was prompted by a shooting by a Black Employee.

Here is an mediocre editorial in the LA times which captures the uninformed level of debate.  They don't even know the difference between UNISYS and InfoSys.

The best research based analysis is from the "The Economic Policy Institute"  They have a commentary 

and a research study

http://www.epi.org/blog/new-data-infosys-tata-abuse-h-1b-program/ which shows how few H-1Bs are sponsored for work permits.  The implication is that they are expendable workers who are being used to drive down US wages.

Ron Hira also wrote the famous "Bill Gates Tech Worker Fantasy " Editorial

There is also a more corporate point of view with some facts about the program

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