December 1998  - Abuse of Foreign Workers American Style

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The Ultimate Abuse
November 1998

An excerpt from MIGRATION NEWS Vol. 5, No. 12, September 1998
by Philip Martin, University of California, Davis CA 95616

The American Competitiveness Act, which will increase the number of H-1B 
non-immigrant visas by 142,500 over the next three years for foreign 
high-tech workers, was approved in October 1998.  H-1Bs are nonimmigrant 
professionals with at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent and are 
employed in professional or "specialty occupation" positions in the US.  
Most H-1Bs are admitted initially for three years and can have their 
visas renewed for another three years.

In anticipation of more calls from US companies, the middlemen or body 
shoppers who find often Indians to come to the US as H-1Bs have stepped 
up their recruiting activities.  The Dallas Observer carried a report 
about a programmers' "body shopper" in Plano, Texas who recruits 
engineers and software programs in India and signs them to contracts with 
his company under the H-1B program and subsequently sells their services 
to American companies.  He deducts up to 40 percent of the H-1B workers' 
paychecks each week, leading to charges of indentured servitude.  
Sometimes a second middleman, who also takes a cut of the workers' 
salary, works between the body shopper and an interested company.  The 
H-1Bs often have difficulty getting away from the body shoppers, who 
often hold their passports and visas. 

One body shopper who brought in 350 engineers and programmers from India 
since 1993 was quoted as asserting that "I am getting the cream of the 
crop from India and dumping them on America."  When questioned about 
draining India of its best and brightest, he said there are plenty more 
in India.

A typical programmer or engineer working in India earns between $20,000 
and $24,000 a year, compared to $50,000 in the US.  Of the 56,000 Asians 
who came to the US in 1996 on H-1B visas, 30,000 were Indians.  

The US Department of Labor says that the most frequent abusers of H-1B 
workers are companies or body shops that recruit H-1Bs and then send them 
to US firms on a job-by-job basis.  The Department of Labor reports that 
in FY 1998, which ended October 1, there were 63 complaints regarding 
H-1B program violations, up from 48 the pervious year.  Some 19 percent 
of the complaints involved workers who were not being paid wages to which 
they were entitled.

Barb Cole-Gomolski, "The many faces of the H-1B program," Computerworld, November 23, 1998. "Congress passes legislation on employment of foreign 'high tech,' workers, Maine Employment Law Letter, December 1998. Miriam Rozen, "Invasion of the bodyshoppers," Dallas Observer, November 12, 1998.

Other Reports
  • 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  Was there a deal?
  • Sep 98  No Deal!
  • Oct 98  Lifting the H-1B cap
  • Dec 98  This page
  • Next Report
  •  
    Don't  skip  these  pages
  • American Policy Regarding Immigration
  • How do Americans abuse foreigners?
  • Why do Americans abuse foreigners?
  • Apartheid American style

  • References  for further reading
  • Public Opinions

  • My experience in the United States
  • Seeking representation in NJ at U.S. D.C.
  • Read my 1995 article published in Civil-Rights
  • See related articles in PUBPOL  

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