Giant multinational offshoring firms have figured out how to game the H1-B system, flooding the application queue with thousands of requests the instant the process opens each year. It's transformed the H1-B Visa category from a lifeline for companies who need to bring in critical foreign talent into a way to shut down whole departments in the USA and replace them with lower-cost overseas workers who are exploited far from home.
Of the 20 companies that received the most H-1B visas in 2014, 13 were global outsourcing operations, according to an analysis of federal records by Professor Hira. The top 20 companies took about 40 percent of the visas available — about 32,000 — while more than 10,000 other employers received far fewer visas each. And about half of the applications in 2014 were rejected entirely because the quota had been met.
Two of those applications came from Mark Merkelbach and his small engineering firm in Seattle. For water projects in China, he needed engineers and landscapers who speak Mandarin, and he could not find them in the local market. With his H-1B visas denied, Mr. Merkelbach had to move the jobs to Taiwan. Another denial went to Atulya Pandey, an entrepreneur from Nepal who founded an Internet company in the United States and now can no longer work legally in this country for his own business.
The top companies receiving H-1B visas in recent years, Professor Hira found, include Tata Consultancy Services, known as TCS, Infosys and Wipro, all outsourcing giants based in India; Cognizant, with headquarters in New Jersey; and Accenture, a global operation incorporated in Ireland.
Large Companies Game H-1B Visa Program, Costing the U.S. Jobs [Julia Preston/NYT]
(via Interesting People)
(Image: Thiruvananthapuram Infosys Building, Samaleks, CC-BY)