Congress, Courts Could Clash Over Tech Visas



Despite a wave of worker lawsuits – or perhaps because of them – a bipartisan push is on in Congress to lift the national caps on H-1B work visas.

HR 392, which would award still more of “tech visas” to South Asian countries, was attached to the Homeland Security funding bill that passed out of committee. The dubiously titled “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” is one of the House’s most co-sponsored bills, with 329 Republican and Democratic lawmakers signing on.

Not coincidentally, the measure is supported by a long line of deep-pocketed, heavy-hitting lobbyists representing technology companies and overseas labor brokers.

While revealing a not-so-salutary side of bipartisanship, HR 392 goes to great lengths to benefit foreign workers – particularly those from India – over U.S. citizens.

Seven class-action lawsuits pending in U.S. courts accuse the top two H-1B brokers, both founded by Indian businessmen, of favoring tech workers from South Asia.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. led the pack with 28,908 approved H-1B petitions last year. Tata Consultancy Services followed with 14,697. Tata recruited about 3,000 U.S. workers that year.

Daniel Kotchen, a partner with Kotchen & Low in Washington, D.C., said Tata “has a corporate preference to predominantly staff U.S. positions with South Asians, including visa holders from India.” Employees who aren’t South Asian aren’t given work to do and are fired at “strikingly disproportionate rates,” said the attorney who represents plaintiffs in the class-action cases.

Another lawsuit in California alleges that Infosys, another outsourcing giant, conspired with Apple to evade visa laws through the H-1B program.

Now comes HR 392, which would eliminate existing national caps and allow the H-1B “body shops” to dive even deeper into the South Asian labor pool.

“FAIR has long opposed lifting the per-country caps,” said government relations director RJ Hauman. “Without those caps in place, India will consume the lion’s share of the permanent skilled visas, creating a discriminatory system that favors a single foreign nation.”

What’s worse, he adds, “HR 392 shreds any pretense that H-1B is anything but a track for intending immigrants – not short-term foreign labor. No one promised [these Indian]temporary guest workers that they would ever have the chance to immigrate permanently.”

Unfortunately, the lame duck House appears bent on compounding the abuse and neglect of U.S. workers – whatever the courts decide.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

34 Comments

  1. avatar

    Vivalamigra You covered what the real reason is that companies are crying for more H1-B visas, shame on you for telling telling the truth as now days the truth is not acceptable.

  2. avatar

    Rahul _ That’s rude to someone who lost their job. You’re a moron and insensitive. You should be great full to be allowed to chase American dream. No matter what skill you posses and however talented you are it’s of no use absent American citizens warmth and welcoming nature.
    This prosperity is built by American citizens of past and present n it’s feeding the world , keeping most people safe and uplifting poor. Be graceful and be thankful instead of feeling entitled. I think you are a future citizen and you need to understand the feelings imagining being in their shoes.

  3. avatar

    When there was a need, we were invited to come help US and its businesses.

    Still there is a need! so we are here. We are not here illegally.

    As you said, please stop H1B asap, lets see how many companies can survive in US and how much innovation would happen here.

    Already china is on par with US on product development.

    • avatar

      Right, because Americans never created or innovated anything before Indians migrated here. And China steals our technology so they apparently think a lot of what we create.

      • avatar

        I fully recognize and appreciate the contributions this great nation has done to the world!!

        Then, we should not forget the fact that this has been a country of immigrants.

        • avatar

          Right. But not one’s who came in through deceptive methods. Since you clearly came in under the system you should be sent home under that same system. How about we put a cap of 2 years on all of you? And then a mandatory 3 year period before you can reapply? Moreover, how about requiring that NO money be sent out of country that was earned in country?
          Also, under absolutely no conditions would children born to H1-b persons be allowed citizenship? And also none can marry a US citizen while in country? (Another way around our usual requirements for admission.) And should the US citizen marry abroad the foreigner must wait 5 years before coming in as a spouse?
          Lastly, NO foreign H1-b or similar, holder would be permitted to retain their position if/when an equally or better qualified US citizen applied for it? Meaning ALL H1-b’s and similar would be considered EXACTLY what they are- temporary, and able to be replaced with two weeks notice.
          NOW what do you think?
          And cut the sh*t about America being a land of immigrants. Come talk to us about that when you come in through Ellis Island. And in the same process and procedure that they ALL did!

          • avatar

            Why so many rules? Why don’t you just close flights, ships and roads and any other means of in & out of US. You will be safe inside a big jail and not worry about someone you are so scared of. Keep it simple. LoL. All money stays inside and used inside probably something you like similar to North Korea.

          • avatar

            wow!!

            You mentioned about Ellis Island and early immigrants.
            The only difference b/w you and me is that you or your forefathers came here a bit earlier than i did.

            I think everyone must go and give this country back to whom this belong ; native “American- Indians”..

            What would you do when everything is automated??
            which is currently happening & you will see the impact in less than 5yrs…. if i understand right, lot of professionals including CPA’s,lawyers , IT guys may loose there jobs to robots……. will you fight against automation???

            This world has changed a lot !! Everyone is the world needs to understand those changes and adapt.

    • avatar

      LUKE my dear. Why are you here then? You can work out of where ever you came from. If businesses need you so desperately they will come and find you in what ever cave you might be hiding. Just relax and don’t let frustration dictate your judgement.

    • avatar

      We did just great before there was such a thing as H1B so don’t worry about us in the U.S. as we were leaders long before people like you think you are saving us.

  4. avatar

    Hello BOB DANE,

    You look like a half baked knowledge person. Find below.

    a bipartisan push is on in Congress to lift the national caps on H-1B work visas. ——->incorrect

    a bipartisan push is on in Congress to lift the national caps on employment based green cards. ——->correct

    • avatar

      There are lot of people in this country with an “I’m entitled” mentality.

      I think most of the people complaining of losing jobs were computer operators, not developers.

      Technology is fast changing, anyone in that space should be willing to learn.

      I understand that people from small towns would find it difficult to find a job in the same town if a consulting company takes over their IT department.

      People blame TCS, Infosys etc….. the real culprits are the CEO’s & CIO’s of corporate america who goes to any extend to show that they are making profit for the company.

      The employees who come here are also human beings, they have hopes and plans for future , their life is held hostage by these immigration rules.

      Else make a rule that says nobody on work visa can apply for Green card. Here they allow us to apply , but make us wait for 75 yrs to get that. HR 392 would make this GC process faster, will not allow new visas’

  5. avatar

    “HR 392 goes to great lengths to benefit foreign workers – particularly those from India – over U.S. citizens.”
    Author says the above.
    FACTS:
    1.) HR 392 doesn’t increase the number of given Green cards, no increase or decrease in immigration.
    2.) HR 392 – First come first serve irrespective of which country you are from. India and China being the most populated countries have more people in queue from a long time.
    3.) UBER/OLA drivers from small countries get green card way sooner than Doctors from India.
    (3 years vs 20+ years)
    2.) HR 392 has nothing to do with H1 B visas. As long as H1 B process exists, there are new immigrants coming lawfully to the United States.
    3.) H1-B is not for low paying jobs. There are exceptions but most of the employees get paid way more than Median Household income in any state.

    Any employer must go to great lengths to employ immigrant and hope that their application gets picked in LOTTERY. Why would any company invest money and time to hire an immigrant unless he is very good at his job? They can hire and train Americans where they don’t have to deal with legal fee of immigration, application fees, renewal fee once in three years, Green card fee etc.

    Again, there are exceptions which bother both honest immigrants and Americans alike. Ban those body shops and arrest those who use loopholes to take advantage of the current system.

    Finally, It is your country and your decision to keep us or not. I actually like it here but if my legal time to stay is finished, I will leave.

    • avatar

      HR392 will increase the number of foreign workers because employers will fire the green carded former H-1B workers and hire a fresh batch of new H-1B workers.

      Surely you do not believe employers won’t replace their current US workers with H-1B workers.

      • avatar

        No, you are wrong. What you said doesn’t make sense. For now, even with the current country cap, all the 140 thousand Employment-based green card quota for the whole world is used up every year. All the green card quota is used up, meaning NO green card quota is leftover. As long as the total quota is there, no matter what employers do to US or foreign workers, the total number of people immigrating to US stays the same, regardless of HR392.

  6. avatar

    This article doesn’t state the facts correctly. HR 392 will not increase the number of people coming to US.
    It is meant to help people who are stuck in the Green Card backlog.

    Nobody can displace you if you stay updated on changing technologies.

    • avatar

      Another crazy response from Indian. No American needs to compete with foreigner so stop using that line. That is not the intent of the H1b program.

      There is a reason HR392 is heavily supported by outsourcing companies because it benefits them. If the Indians stuck in backlog get greencards they will seek different jobs and compete with American works while the companies with simply seek new h1bs. American workers loose .

    • avatar

      America needs foreigners to fill skill gaps only. We dont have to invite you because u r smart. You can use your smartness in your home country. If local can do the work we dont need you. But cheap labor loving employers prefer u overs locals. Cisco is good example.

      U r spreading lies. Disney workers were replaced by H1B who were not even skilled to do the task. The H1Bs had to be trained to do that work. So enough of your “Nobody can displace you if you stay updated on changing technologies.” bs.

  7. avatar

    ITs Can Do S/W Development With Just a High School Diploma

    Source code isn’t talk in colleges anyway. Why do we even need H-1Bs at at all? This STEM worker shortage for High Tech is FAKE NEWS.

  8. avatar

    “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act”? In what world are these people owed any “fairness” by this country? How about fairness for American workers first and foremost? To be straightforward about it, the fact that this has so many sponsors in the House is just proof of what a bunch of for-sale whores we have representing us. And until the American public stops caring more about Survivor and other such meaningless nonsense, and tweeting their “outrage” over what some idiot actor said, and starts caring more about issues like this, nothing will change

  9. avatar

    People don’t understand H1B are not only IT people. There are tons of other fields where H1B people are hired. Author has a half-baked knowledge which is obvious from this article. I can talk in length about HR392 but it will go over authors head so no reason to waste time here.

    “Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment”.The unemployment rate is down, is it because of immigration? I guess no so what Bob from FAIR is talking about.

    If there is abuse go and file a lawsuit, punish the guilties but why make genuine people suffer. H1B is a modern day Slavery if you want us to wait 20 years for the green card just shut the damn H1B totally. Afterall who wants to live in the US now, it’s not the same country anymore. Live with illegals and welcome them, let them file fake asylums, they will definitely make America Great Again.

    • avatar

      “If you want us to wait 20 years for the green card just shut the damn H1B totally.” Typical sense of entitlement. Who promised you that you were going to automatically get a green card. Our choice, not yours. And when you say “Afterall who wants to live in the US now, it’s not the same country anymore”. Obviously you do, or you wouldn’t be complaining. Half the world would come here from their loser countries if we let them.

    • avatar

      Majority of H1B is IT coders only. The other tons of fields dont consume as much as IT fields. The author is spot on in saying HR392 benefits only Indians IT coders.

      Talk of genuine people is bs. The people who were on H1B are getting denied for extension of H1B. So much for genuine. They are still in GC queue after denial of H1B. They need to get off the queue.

  10. avatar

    I worked in the IT sector from college graduation in ’75 until I was pushed out for good in 2012, at the age of 58. Many of my peers had given up much earlier, due to work in the field becoming sporadic and income levels dropping rapidly relative to COL. Things had been getting progressively better in the 1980’s, with salaries rising from the mid teens into the mid $30K’s. Employers, of course, decided not to pay higher salaries so along came the “temporary” solution to a “labor shortage” in the form of the H1-B visa. The visa program ended the industry’s practice of periodic retraining of their staffs – they’d simply pronounce their existing workers to be ‘obsolete,’ lay them off, and bring in 90 Day Wonders from the Indian body shops.

      • avatar

        Another crazy response from Indian. No American needs to compete with foreigner so stop using that line. That is not the intent of the H1b program.

        There is a reason HR392 is heavily supported by outsourcing companies because it benefits them. If the Indians stuck in backlog get greencards they will seek different jobs and compete with American works while the companies with simply seek new h1bs. American workers loose .

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