July 1998 - Abuse of Foreign Workers American Style

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The H-1B Campaign is set back - Why?

An excerpt from MIGRATION NEWS Vol. 5, No. 7, July 1998
by Philip Martin, University of California, Davis CA 95616

Campaign is set back - Why?

The H-1B program, approved in 1990 amidst fears of labor shortages,
permits US employers to bring in temporary workers by attesting
that they tried and failed to find US workers to fill jobs requiring
the equivalent of a college education; foreign professionals are
admitted for up to six years to fill these vacant jobs.  In the
attestation-admission procedure, the employer's request opens the
border gate to foreign workers, and there is no further check unless
the government receives complaints that the employer broke his promise
to pay workers prevailing wages or committed other violations of law
or contract.

Up to 65,000 foreign professionals can receive H-1B visas each year. Since each H-1B worker can remain in the US for up to six years, 390,000 H-1B workers can be employed in the US at any one time. House and Senate committees have agreed to increase the quota, but they disagree on whether new worker protections should be added to the program, including requirements included in the House bill, and endorsed by the Clinton administration, that would require employers to certify (1) that they tried to recruit US workers and (2) that they have not laid off US workers to make room for the H-1B workers. The campaign to raise the ceiling on the number of H-1B visas was set back in June 1998 when the Chicago-based employment firm of Challenger, Grey and Christmas reported that 21 well-known high-tech companies had laid off 121,800 workers since December, 1997, more than the number of H-1B workers who would be admitted if the quota were increased. House Majority Leader Dick Armey in late June was reportedly trying to broker a compromise between the chairmen of the immigration subcommittees of the House and Senate. In the meantime, the H-1B program is becoming more employer-friendly. The INS published regulations on June 4, 1998 that permit employers to file their Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) with local Employment Service offices after they have requested H-1B workers through the INS. INS also eased regulations requiring detailed itineraries for H-1B workers who move around the US. H-1B workers are often portrayed as the "best and brightest" from outside the US who enter to work with a high-tech company such as Intel or Microsoft on a frontier project, and then return home. However, most H-1B workers are hired by temporary staffing agencies--labor brokers--who lease them to US employers, and many H-1B workers seek out US employers to sponsor them for admission as immigrants. A San Diego Union-Tribune article on June 8, 1998 noted the sharp contrast between employer testimony and reality. Employer testimony emphasized wages of over $65,000 a year, but Tata Consultancy Services, the second-largest employer of H-1Bs, paid $35,000 to 13 Indian programmers with H-1B visas working for UCSD. Tata does not recruit or hire US programmers; indeed, most of the top 10 US requesters of H-1B workers have few or no US workers on staff. An editorial in the July issue of a computer business publication concluded: "Companies have a fiduciary responsibility to keep labor costs low. If U.S. technology companies cannot find highly trained, highly motivated American employees at a competitive cost, then a shortage does exist. And if companies say they want to hire more skilled foreign workers because those workers are cheaper, we should believe them--and increase the number of visas issued." The article could be viewed at: http://www.redherring.com/mag/issue56/toc.htm but now link is invalid. . . The top ten US firms and the number of H-1B workers they imported between October 1, 1997 and March 31, 1998 were: Mastech, 672; Tata Consultancy Services, 490; Sai Software Consultants, 224; Tata Infotech, 199; ComputerPeople, 184; Intel, 144; Comsys Technical Services and Syntel, 131 each; Quality Information Systems, 124; and Intelligroup, 116. In the first six months of FY98, 44 percent of H-1B visas were granted to people from India.

UPDATES
  • Jan 96  Hypocrisy
  • Sep 97  Abolish the INS
  • Jan 98  Total breakdown imminent
  • Feb 98  The INS is still a giant devil
  • Mar 98  The emerging Crisis
  • Apr 98  The INS Scam
  • May 98  The H-1B Crisis
  • June 98 Crisis is FAKE
  • July 98  This Page
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