No Surprise — Infosys Cleared of Wrongdoing in SCE Case

Earlier this year, Southern California Edison and Disney made headlines by firing some American IT workers and replacing them by holders of the H-1B work visa. The latter workers were supplied by Indian IT services firms, which are basically in the rent-a-programmer business. SCE and Disney forced the Americans to train their foreign replacements.

At the time, a group of outraged senators sent an open letter to the Dept. of Labor, asking DOL to investigate, but I wrote a blog posting to point out that the actions of SCE, Disney, Infosys etc. are perfectly legal. Today, Infosys announced that it had indeed been given a clean bill of health in the DOL investigation.

I suspect that the senators who authored letter to DOL knew that the various employers had acted legally. If they did, then why did the senators ask for the investigation? Seems it was just for publicity.

I know a lot of programmers and engineers had pinned their hopes on the DOL investigation (in spite of my stating that it was pointless). I urge them to push for general H-1B reform, not just regarding the IT services firms, and not just regarding the issue of replacement of Americans by foreign workers. And also not just on the $60,000 wage floor for H-1B-dependent employers. I would also urge them to pay close attention to the currently active lawsuit on the Optional Practical Training part of the F-1 foreign student visa, which is the type of foreign worker that firms like SCE and Disney will turn to if Congress enacts legislation targeting the IT services firms.

As I’ve often said: If critics of H-1B just concentrate on the word replace and the number 60000, they’ll find that Congress limits reform to just those two aspects (and only cosmetically even there), and use it as an excuse the EXPAND the H-1B and green card programs. The result will be a situation even worse than before.

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8 thoughts on “No Surprise — Infosys Cleared of Wrongdoing in SCE Case

  1. The “cap” of 65K or 85K is another straw man distraction. In fiscal year 2013 they issued nearly 154K H-1B visas ( the latest figures released though we’re near the end of FY2015).

    (Sorry for the occasional unintentional malapropism; this thing thinks it knows better what word I intended and quietly makes substitutions, a few of which I catch but some of which I only notice much later.)

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    • You are including cap-exempt visas (universities, mainly) and visa renewals.

      The university issue is is definitely a big problem, as I’ve said before, causing a horrendous post doc situation. And there seems to be increasing use by industry, such as Intel setting up a research shop adjacent to the CMU campus and having CMU be the employer of record.

      One shouldn’t look at the renewals numbers per se. Instead, the proper analysis is to take the yearly 85K cap and multiply by 6, the duration of the visa, and also account for the fact that one can renew after 6 years too if one is being sponsored for a green card.

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  2. The only solution is a fundamental alteration in the program to give precedence to US workers, and to tightly regulate and monitor usage. In addition, the L-1 program is more and more the go to mechanism. The L-1 has no caps.

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    • Unfortunately, the industry and their immigration lawyers are really creative at finding ways to sidestep intended policy. For example giving precedence to US workers sounds good, but under the current 4-tier prevailing wage system, the employers would simply give precedence to Americans WITHIN TIERS. Since the tiers are based on experience levels, the result would be that employers would STILL be hiring young H-1Bs instead of older Americans.

      Yes, L-1 is a big problem. All the big Silicon Valley firms now seem to be using it.

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      • Why ask for a $60,000 wage floor? Yes, it is quick and easy but employers already deal with the four-tier system, so why not take the congressional testifiers at their word and require that “The Best and The Brightest” simply be required to get paid at least at the (obviously much lesser level than “Best and Brightest”) level of “Fully Competent”?

        That, since the four tiers vary by location, would require costly metropolitan areas pay more, and allow the hinterlands (who apparently don’t now care much) to get the opportunity to feel the blessings of the H-1B situation.

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  3. don’t forget, when counting those numbers, they have been happening since 1990 and I’ve read stories that say that they have been here for 10 years or more.

    That is possible as they do an initial 3 years and then a 3 year extension and as long as they have signed up for the green card, they are extended on a year by year basis until they receive their green card.

    The most accurate method for counting is to use table A-7 which currently is at 25 million “foreign born” workers employed in America

    When you do it that way and you count foreign born and native born together and subtract the 2007 beginning totals from the most recent 2015 ending totals, you end up with these numbers:

    The most recent data can be found via the following link:

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t07.htm

    The data can be found via the following link:

    http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab7.htm

    Otherwise, you could divide the current total of 25 million by the 25 years that this program has been running and you would end up with 1 million per year on average which is the totals that the uscis reports have been showing lately if you do all of the temporary non immigrant visa types

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