H-1b Guest-Worker Visas - computerworld.com

Bryan Brodie brb at appimatic.com
Thu Mar 19 19:13:01 EDT 2015

more on this important subject - edited for brevity - thanks David for
bringing it up...


WASHINGTON - A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on the H-1B visa
offered up a stew of policy arguments, positioning and frustration.

Much of the frustration focused on the IT layoffs at Southern California
Edison (
and http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-edison-layoffs-20150211-story.html),
which is cutting 500 IT workers after hiring two offshore outsourcing
firms. This has become the latest example for critics of the visa program's
capacity for abuse.

The voices of the displaced, who may be in fear of losing their homes, are
thwarted by severance agreements.

"I got the letters here from people, without the names," said Sen. Jeff
Sessions (R-Ala.). "If they say what they know and think about this, they
will lose the buy-outs."

Moreover, if IT workers refuse to train their foreign replacement, "they
are going to be terminated with cause, which means they won't even get
their unemployment insurance," said Ron Hira, an associate professor at
Howard University, who also testified. Affected tech workers who speak out
publicly and use their names, "will be blackballed from the industry," he

Sen. Dick Durbin, (Dem-Ill.), who has joined with Grassley on legislation
to impose some restrictions on H-1B visa use -- particularly in offshoring
-- has argued for a rule that would keep large firms from having more than
50% of their workers on the visa. This so-called 50/50 rule, as Durbin has
noted, has drawn much criticism from India, where most of the affected
companies are located.

Today's hearing went well beyond the impact of H-1B use by outsourcing
firms to the displacement of workers overall.

"Asking domestic graduates, both native-born and immigrant, to compete with
guest workers on wages is not a winning strategy for strengthening U.S.
science, technology and innovation," said Hal Salzman, a Rutgers University
professor who studies STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
workforce issues.

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