It is interesting that you have to go to what I generally/broadly consider the left to find any news of H-1B visa scam news. You won’t find articles like this in The Wall Street Journal or the Dallas Morning News. (I don’t consider the Dallas Morning News left or right, they are just in favor of whatever government program benefits the region, they have no principals.)
I just went around the web this morning to take a look at this, given this Slate post several sites have linked to.
From the Boston Globe: Rethinking H-1B Visas
From The Daily Kos: H-1B Guest Worker Fraud and the Lacking Skills Scam
From the Democratic Underground: 41 Disqualified H-1B Employers
From the Times of India: 41 Disqualified H-1B Employers (Warning: Slide Show)
From the Economic Times: Indian American company indicted for misuse of H-1B visa
Those last two links are their because it demonstrates that Indians know the score. They see the H-1B visa scam as an entry to the U.S.
The Slate writer makes fun of the tech workers that don’t want an expansion of the H-1B program. Slate links to this article from The Verge which is sympathetic to the plight of American IT workers:
The largest employers of H1-B workers aren’t firms like Facebook and Microsoft, they are actually outsourcing companies like Infosys, Tata, and Wipro.
But you know what? Those workers for the Indian companies Infosys, Tata and Wipro are contracted out to Microsoft, Facebook and others. Also, how does an Indian company get to set up shop in the U.S. and then issue H-1B visas to Indian? Why don’t they just work with Indians in India. I know of this thing called the Internet that allows software workers to be anyplace in the world. It’s pretty cool this Internet thing. It is most useful when working with virtual products such as software.
But the real abuses of the H-1B visa program are at the smaller companies like Dibon Solutions mentioned in the Boston Globe and Economic Times article above. While the company was indicted for the practice of “benching,” these lower level companies often do something that is worse. (You won’t find mention of Dibon Solutions in the Dallas Morning News. This goes to my opinion above about the DMN being in favor of whatever benefits this area. There are many companies in this area hiring H-1B workers. Some of them quite large and, of course, they could be possible advertisers in the DMN.)
The are many companies in the H-1B business, called body shops, that operate as temp agencies. They bring a worker to the U.S. and then they farm them out to other companies on an hourly rate. If they are idle, they don’t get paid. Hence the term benching. What is never mentioned is that the workers are often charged on the front end a substantial fee to get the H-1B visa in the first place. That’s right a body shop will charge the worker a fee to come to the U.S. and then only employ and pay them sporadically. Eventually, if everything goes right for the worker, he’ll (and it’s always a he) get a “permanent” assignment with a U.S. company. It might take one or two years, but that is considered a success. Also, if anybody cares, the corporate manager that hires this H-1B visa worker into the U.S. company is always of the same “ethnic” group and collects a fee in direct violation of his corporate policies.
I’m sure there are some people in India, that come out of ITT, that are really, really smart and U.S. tech companies pay them a lot of money to come here to work for them. These people are not the ones that concern me. The ones that concern me are the workers that come through these body shops. The only reason that the system they employ to come to the U.S. works at all is because they are willing to work for less money than the typical U.S. worker. There is no other reason.
Just as with the low skilled workers that come from the South depressing wages from everybody else as the effects ripple through the economy, so do these supposedly skilled workers depress the wages and opportunities for tech and other middle class workers.
We do not have a shortage of STEM workers in this country. We have companies trying to lower their costs through looser immigration policies. It is that simple.