August 1998 - Abuse of Foreign Workers American Style

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HAS A DEAL BEEN REACHED?
August 1998

Congress adjourned for its August recess without passing legislation to increase the H-1B cap.   Acritcle blow-by-blow coverage of the legislative battle is not accessible now ( had been presented by an immigration lawyer ).  Lastly the legislators proposed a deal as shown below, in a bulletin of another immigration lawyer.
Message-Id: <199807250321.WAA24584@babel.telalink.net>
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 22:38:33 -0500
To: visalaw@userhome.com
From: "Gregory Siskind, Attorney at Law" <gsiskind@visalaw.com>
Subject: SISKIND'S IMMIGRATION ALERT - H-1B DEAL REACHED


Siskind's Immigration Bulletin

Special Bulletin


A DEAL HAS BEEN REACHED!

The following is a press release issued by House Immigration
Subcommittee Congressman Lamar Smith's office within the last few
minutes:

Smith Announces H1-B Agreement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 24, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Lamar Smith, announced Friday
that an initial agreement on temporary foreign worker legislation
containing meaningful safeguards for American workers was reached
late Thursday.

"This agreement is good for business, good for workers, good for
America", Smith said. "It targets likely abusers of the system
with stiff penalties".

The compromise House-Senate bill was agreed to by House and
Senate immigration policy-makers and by the House and Senate
leadership.

The legislation will require companies who are heavy users of
foreign temporary workers to attest thatthey have recruited
American workers and that they have not laid off an American
worker to hire a foreign worker.

"These same companies also will have to attest that they do not
provide temporary workers to othercompanies who then use them to
replace laid off workers," Smith, Chairman of the House
Immigration Subcommittee, said. "If found to have done so, the
companies could be fined and face debarment fromusing the H-1B
program for one year."

In the most recent listing of the top 25 users of H-1B visas, at
least six are publicly identified as heavyusers of foreign
workers, with at least 15 percent of their employees being
temporary foreign workers.


We will provide more details on our H-1B Emergency Update on our web
site at http://www.visalaw.com.

The H-1b Deal

An excerpt from MIGRATION NEWS Vol. 5, No. 8, August 1998
by Philip Martin, University of California, Davis CA 95616

House and Senate Republican leaders on July 24, 1998 reached a
compromise to increase the annual ceiling on the number of
professionals admitted to the US.  The compromise raises the
annual ceiling from the current 65,000 to 85,000 in FY98, 95,000
in 1999, 105,000 in 2000, and 115,000 in 2001 and 2002.

The 65,000 limit was reached on May 7, 1998; no more H-1B visas
can be issued until FY99 begins on October 1, 1998, or Congress
raises the quota.  House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) promised
action before Congress adjourns in August.

Under the House bill, the Workforce Improvement and Protection
Act of 1998 (HR 3736), U.S. employers asserting that they need
H-1B workers to fill vacant jobs at prevailing wages--this is the
major current requirement for hiring foreign professionals--would
also have to attest under the House bill that: (1) they tried to
find U.S. workers; and (2) they did not lay off U.S. workers to
make room for the foreigners. President Clinton threatened to
veto a bill raising the quota that does not include the worker
protections in the House bill.  Some advocates for raising the
ceiling said that it would be better not to raise the annual
ceiling if worker protections are added.

The worker protection issue divided the Senate and House.
Senator Abraham (R-MI), whose American Competitiveness Act S1723
was approved 78 to 20 in June 1998, said that worker protections
would "could completely undermine the whole H-1B program."
Representative Smith (R-TX) countered that "I don't think a bill
will pass the House floor unless it had some safeguards for
workers."

The compromise requires "heavy users" of H-1B workers--those in
which 15 percent or more of the employees are H-1Bs-- to attest
that they tried to recruit US workers and that they have not laid
off an American worker to hire a foreign worker.  Complaints that
US employers laid off US workers to hire H-1Bs would be resolved
by a three-member arbitration panel selected by both parties.

Most of the H-1B workers employed in the U.S. work in high-tech
industries as programmers.  About 44 percent of H-1B visas issued
so far in FY98 went to Indians, followed by nine percent to
Chinese, five percent for Britains, and three percent each for
Filipinos and Canadians. Most of the Indians are recruited by
brokers in India for a fee and hired by temporary staffing firms
in the U.S. that often employ only H-1B workers.

A July 26, 1998 profile of H-1B Indians in Silicon Valley noted
that many "techno-braceros" are easily exploited by their US
employers because they are earning five to 15 times more in the
US and they want their employers to sponsor them for immigration
status; the carrot of a green card is reportedly a powerful lure
to keep H-1Bs hard at work.  Many H-1Bs sign contracts that
require payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to their original employer
if they switch jobs.  The Indian H-1Bs interviewed acknowledged
earning far more in the US than they could earn in India, but
also complained that they earned less than similar US workers,
and that they were expected to work longer hours than other
workers.

A Boston Globe profile of H-1B brokers in India reported that
recruitment fees are typically $1,500 a worker, and that 20,000
Indians were sent to the U.S. as H-1Bs in 1997.  Many of those
sent to the U.S. earn $10,000 a year in India, and $20,000 to
$40,000 a year in the U.S. Since many of the H-1B workers are
able to find a U.S. employer to sponsor them for permanent
immigrant status, the dowry expected from a woman marrying an
Indian man with an H-1B visa can double to $100,000.

India has 1,700 computer colleges and institutes that produce
55,000 new programmers and engineers a year; starting salaries
are $150 a month. The American Consulate-General in Chennai,
India reported that many of the Indians seeking to migrate to the
U.S. as H-1B workers are using false certificates to show that
they are professionals, or are claiming work experience from
non-existent firms.

In some areas of the US, employers have stepped up their hiring
of H-2B nonfarm, non-professional workers.  There is an annual
cap of 66,000 such workers, but only 14,345 were admitted in
FY96.  However, in Vermont, the number of jobs that employers
wanted to fill with H-2B workers jumped from 164 in FY96 to 326
in FY98, as employers outside the ski industry requested foreign
workers.  The number of jobs approved to be filled by H-2B
workers rose only from 112 to 124.

William Branigin, "High Tech's Hired Hands, Critics Say Visa
Program, Immigrants Exploited," Washington Post, July 26, 1998.
Michelle Mittelstadt, "Clinton Threatens Visa Program Veto, AP,
July 16, 1998. "Congressional Consideration of Legislation to
Increase the Number of H-1B Visas, Office of the Press Secretary,
July 16, 1998.  John Stackhouse, "Boom times for India's brain
brokers," Boston Globe, Tuesday, July 14, 1998.

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  Set Back Campaign
  • Aug 98  This Page
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