ImperiumWatch: The Lie Behind Worker Visas

Industry claims falsely that Americans lack specialized skills.

Comments (4)
Thursday, February 16, 2012

At the end of January, President Obama was on the Web hosting a Google+ hangout when one guest complained that her husband, a semiconductor engineer, had been out of work for three years. She followed up by asking the president why visa programs for foreign workers were still in effect when many highly skilled Americans were unemployed.

Obama said he'd been told by industry representatives that they only used the visas—like the H-1b visa for foreign workers sponsored by their American employers—when they couldn't find people with comparable skill sets here. "If your send me your husband's resume," he told the woman, whose name was Jennifer Wedel, "I'd be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there."

In many media, the incident turned into a mini-soap opera: Would the president help Wedel's husband find a job? But the more important question is: Will he follow through, get past the line he's been fed by industry and find out "what's happening right there"?

Those who care about unemployment in America should hope he will, because what's happening is not only keeping highly skilled Americans out of work; it's threatening to undermine the education system that gives them their training, since if American-educated engineers and others with advanced technical backgrounds can't find work in their fields, the programs that train them will wither.

It's all detailed in a study by Ron Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology titled "H-1B and L-1 Visa Programs: Out of Control," released more than a year ago by the Economic Policy Institute (

What Hira pinpoints as the central flaw in the visa programs is related to what Obama said he was going to check out: though the rationale for the programs was to enable employers to hire foreigners with skills American workers don't have, there's in fact no requirement that they search the American labor market before hiring foreign workers, often forcing their American counterparts to train them, and sometimes sending them back overseas to help outsource the work they learned to do here.

So American firms can simply tell the Department of Labor—as they told the president—that they can't find highly specialized workers here. Then they can get the visas, hire people from abroad, and pay them less than Americans for the same work (on average about $13,000 less, according to another study using information from 2005). That in turn puts unfair pressure on firms that employ Americans and pay standard wages.

The visa programs were established in 1990, when the U. S. had a shortage of skilled workers in high-tech industries. That changed, but the programs continued—with no requirement that employers document a shortage of American workers with the skills they need. There are now a million guest workers in the U.S. with H-1B or L-1 visas, and the major impact of their presence is in information technology, where the visa programs have cost Americans tens of thousands of jobs if not more, Hira estimated.

Hira advocated reforming the visa programs, not eliminating them—in particular, requiring companies to verify that Americans with the skills they need cannot be found, and to pay foreign workers standard wages. (Some of Hira's concerns have been echoed in legislation proposed by senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Charles Grassley of Iowa.)

The consequence of keeping the programs in operation without overhauling them, Hira wrote, "would include: increased offshoring of high-wage, high-tech jobs; the further erosion of America's technological leadership; displacement of American technology workers... unfair competition for small American technology companies; a clear signal from the U.S. government to young Americans that they should not pursue careers in the science, engineering, and technology fields; and the exploitation of thousands of foreign guest workers."

Comments (4)
Post a Comment

Companies ruined or almost ruined by imported Indian labor

Adaptec - Indian CEO Subramanian Sundaresh fired.
AIG (signed outsourcing deal in 2007 in Europe with Accenture Indian frauds, collapsed in 2009)
AirBus (Qantas plane plunged 650 feet injuring passengers when its computer system written by India disengaged the auto-pilot).
Apple - R&D CLOSED in India in 2006.
Australia's National Australia Bank (Outsourced jobs to India in 2007, nationwide ATM and account failure in late 2010).
Bell Labs (Arun Netravalli took over, closed, turned into a shopping mall)
Boeing Dreamliner ES software (written by HCL, banned by FAA)
Bristol-Myers-Squibb (Trade Secrets and documents stolen in U.S. by Indian national guest worker)
Caymas - Startup run by Indian CEO, French director of dev, Chinese tech lead. Closed after 5 years of sucking VC out of America.
Caterpillar misses earnings a mere 4 months after outsourcing to India, Inc.
Circuit City - Outsourced all IT to Indian-run IBM and went bankrupt shortly thereafter.
ComAir crew system run by 100% Indian IT workers caused the 12/25/05 U.S. airport shutdown when they used a short int instead of a long int
Computer Associates - Former CEO Sanjay Kumar, an Indian national, sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for accounting fraud.
Deloitte - 2010 - this Indian-packed consulting company is being sued under RICO fraud charges by Marin Country, California for a failed solution.
Dell - call center (closed in India)
Delta call centers (closed in India)
Duke University - Massive scientific fraud by Indian national Dr. Anil Potti discovered in 2012.
Fannie Mae - Hired large numbers of Indians, had to be bailed out. Indian logic bomb creator found guilty and sent to prison.
Goldman Sachs - Kunil Shah, VP & Managing Director - GS had to be bailed out by US taxpayers for $550 BILLION.
GM - Was booming in 2006, signed $300 million outsourcing deal with Wipro that same year, went bankrupt 3 years later
HP - Got out of the PC hardware business in 2011 and can't compete with Apple's tablets. HP was taken over by Indians and Chinese in 2001. So much for 'Asian' talent!
HSBC ATMs (software taken over by Indians, failed in 2006)
Intel Whitefield processor project (cancelled, Indian staff canned)
JetStar Airways computer failure brings down Christchurch airport on 9/17/11. JetStar is owned by Quantas - which is know to have outsourced to India, Inc.
Kodak: Outsourced to India in 2006, filed for bankruptcy in Jan, 2012.
Lehman (Jasjit Bhattal ruined the company. Spectramind software bought by Wipro, ruined, trashed by Indian programmers)
Medicare - Defrauded by Indian national doctor Arun Sharma & wife in the U.S.
Microsoft - Employs over 35,000 H-1Bs. Stock used to be $100. Today it's lucky to be over $25. Not to mention that Vista thing.
MIT Media Lab Asia (canceled)
MyNines - A startup founded and run by Indian national Apar Kothari went belly up after throwing millions of America's VC $ down the drain.
Nomura Securities - (In 2011 "struggling to compete on the world stage"). No wonder because Jasjit Bhattal formerly of failed Lehman ran it. See Lehman above.
PeopleSoft (Taken over by Indians in 2000, collapsed).
PepsiCo - Slides from #1 to #3 during Indian CEO Indra Nooyi' watch.
Polycom - Former senior executive Sunil Bhalla charged with insider trading.
Qantas - See AirBus above
Quark (Alukah Kamar CEO, fired, lost 60% of its customers to Adobe because Indian-written QuarkExpress 6 was a failure)
Rolls Royce (Sent aircraft engine work to India in 2006, engines delayed for Boeing 787, and failed on at least 2 Quantas planes in 2010, cost Rolls $500m).
SAP - Same as Deloitte above in 2010.
Singapore airlines (IT functions taken over in 2009 by TCS, website trashed in August, 2011)
Skype (Madhu Yarlagadda fired)
State of Indiana $867 million FAILED IBM project, IBM being sued
State of Texas failed IBM project.
Sun Micro (Taken over by Indian and Chinese workers in 2001, collapsed, had to be sold off to Oracle).
UK's NHS outsourced numerous jobs including health records to India in mid-2000 resulting in $26 billion over budget.
Union Bank of California - Cancelled Finacle project run by India's InfoSys in 2011.
United - call center (closed in India)
Victorian Order of Nurses, Canada (Payroll system screwed up by SAP/IBM in mid-2011)
Virgin Atlantic (software written in India caused cloud IT failure)
World Bank (Indian fraudsters BANNED for 3 years because they stole data).

I could post the whole list here but I don't want to crash any servers.

Posted by Wakjob on 2.14.12 at 21:43

Every immigration wave to the U.S. since 1900 has led to recession or depression. The late 1998-2000 wave was the biggest in U.S. history - bigger than the one from 1906-1920. Historical facts do not lie. Here is the history of immigration and recession to America since 1900:

1906-1920 - Huge wave from Europe - Great Depression in 1929.

1965 - Ted Kennedy's Immigration Reform Act - Big recession 1973-1981

1990 - H-1B started - recession 1991-1993

Oct. 1998 - H-1B caps raised form 65,000 to 115,000 per year - collapse in 2001.

Apri 2000 - H-1B caps raised from 115,000 per year to 195,000 per year - collapse in 2008.

The fake "recovery" in the mid 2000's was no recovery - just cheap Fed credit making up for Americans losing their jobs.

America was built by Americans. Every buildup leads to immigrant takers who come in when times are good, strip the economy, then leave when times are bad - as they are now.

84% of the current U.S. population was born here. Do you seriously expect us to believe that 84% of the natives live off the work of the other 16% immigrants? Come on, stop being either a liar or delusional. Immigration is a disaster for America.

China and India don't have open borders. Did I mention they are booming.

Free Trade caused WW2 - America in the 1920s sold its scrap steel to Japan and England's Rolls Royce sold aircraft engines and factories to Hitler. We all know how that turned out.

Posted by Wakjob on 2.14.12 at 21:43

Work visas are just a new form of communsim - taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive. Globalism is the new communism.

Posted by Wakjob on 2.14.12 at 21:44

I was very pleasantly surprised to read of someone other than myself writing about the lie of H-1b visas.

Here in the Springfield area we have many colleges, some of them specializing in technology. We also have private training schools. Yet corporate America can tell congress any story they want to lower wages and our representatives and senators, meaning Democrats and Republicans, are ready to believe their executive contributors over the endless supply of graduates who are looking for work. This lie has been going on for years. Jennifer Wedel jsut got to tell Obama that during his fourth year in office. He and his predecessor would rather deny it.

I have felt like Jeremiah crying out in the wilderness as I listened to many people who should know better tell me that “they cannot find any qualified Americans for the job.” Many times it is a foreigner in a position to hire people who simply has his own cronies he want to give the job to.

Look through the want ads, especially on-line. You will find lists of qualifications for positions that no one would have in a million years. Ultimately, through visas or out sourcing the work will be done by someone who does not have those qualifications. It is a ruse so they tell their less than astute congressman that “we cannot find anyone.” But he found his campaign contribution.

It is not smart to be waging wars in other countries. While our soldiers are dying and being paid peanuts people of dubious national loyalty are being given strategic positions on nationally important projects.

Anyone who had anyting to do with creating this national disaster should be removed from office.

Posted by Robert Underwood on 2.16.12 at 13:35



New User/Guest?

Find it Here:
search type:
search in:

« Previous   |   Next »
Print Email RSS feed

Better Later?
More joining the ranks in favor of a later start time for high schools
Between the Lines: Riding the Brand
Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker are more afraid to lose than inspired to win.
More Than A Coal Job
A veteran of the Mount Tom energy plant begins again.
From Our Readers
In Satoshi We Trust?
Outside the Cage
How solid is the case for organic and cage-free egg production?
Between the Lines: Practically Organic
Does the organic farming movement make perfect the enemy of good?
Scene Here: The Kitchen Garden Farm