Again, the Infosyses as Bogeymen

Bruce Morrison is a congressperson-turned-high-priced lobbyist representing IEEE-USA, an electrical engineering organization that had been quite critical of the H-1B visa program in the 1990s but which made a U-turn in 2000, apparently after heavy pressure from the corporate-dominated IEEE parent organization. He has long held that the business model of the “Infosyses” — primarily Indian and Indian-American rent-a-programmer firms that gobble up a big chunk of the H-1B visa cap — is counter to the aims of the H-1B law, which he helped enact 25 years ago. He is now even claiming that the Infosyses’ use of the program is illegal. He also defends the use of H-1B by the “Intels,” the big mainstream U.S. firms.

Of course, the real intent in establishing the H-1B program was to provide the Intels cheap foreign labor, so any talk about the original aims of the law is a bit silly. But the ostensible reason for H-1B is to remedy labor shortages, and it is worthwhile to ask whether the Infosyses fit that aim.

I’ve addressed this before. If there were a real tech labor shortage, there would be nothing wrong with renting out H-1Bs to third-party employers. If company X can’t find the workers it needs, what is so terrible about X going to an agent, such as Infosys, to acquire such workers? Infosys would still be remedying a labor shortage in that scenario.

But, you say, the Infosyses REPLACE American workers, and thus are not remedying a shortage. Fine, but (a) most of what the Infosyses do amounts to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers INSTEAD OF Americans, rather than using the foreigners to DIRECTLY REPLACE Americans, and (b) all the big mainstream firms do exactly what the Infosyses do in the sense of (a).

In other words, Morrison is setting up a red herring.

But now Morrison is bringing up a new issue, or at least in a new vein: In the scenario with company X above, X should be considered the real employer of the H-1B. If the government were to agree with Morrison in this regard — which it won’t, and shouldn’t in my opinion — the Infosyses will celebrate, as they suddenly would be freed from the various constraints that “H-1B-dependent employer” status imposes on them.

In related news, I’m told that a close associate of Morrison played a role in authoring the new Durbin-Grassley bill, about which I was so negative for its rewarding of the “Intels.” Yep, lobbyists, writing bills to benefit their clients; did you really think earnest congressional staffers did this work?

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10 thoughts on “Again, the Infosyses as Bogeymen

  1. I agree that we shouldn’t single out outsourcing firms in reforms and call the matter resolved.

    That said, there is evidence that foreign outplacement firms have been the most egregious of abusers. We have identified key harms as being underpayment, replacement of qualified Americans, and age/gender discrimination. American and Indian firms alike have done all of those things. The data indicates foreign staffing firms pay the least and discriminate the most against Americans.

    We can’t ignore the offshore outsourcing factor. For every foreign H-1b worker here employed by offshore outsourcing firms, they are the tip of the spear for an order of magnitude more workers offshore. Those too are American opportunities lost that the H-1b visa help move offshore.

    I think that singling out “Indian” outsourcers would be a bad thing – however addressing offshore outsourcing is a good thing. This bill doesn’t single out Indian outsourcing firms. It will impact them the most because they happen to be the worst actors.

    The bill doesn’t do enough, but I would call it a net positive not a net loss. I think the media focuses on the Infosys’ but the legislation doesn’t.

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  2. One should see Paul Donnelly’s (Morrison’s associate referred to in this article) twitter feed and how he advertises his staple greencard philosophy. Too, they want DOJ to clarify the interpretation of statute so it becomes easier for Infosyses to do their business – http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/policy/2015/OSC-TALrequest.pdf

    It’s also funny how he tries to convince those in the greencard backlog about the greencard visa hike and to help ‘him’ to help ‘them’. Such is the sad state of affairs of law making! The congressmen and senators still seem to be far far away from reality. (including the likes of Grassley/Sessions)

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  3. Infosys is not supernatural.

    However, they are a criminal conspiracy of Slave Traders who have been able to subvert the US political system in order to get immigration fraud more-or-less legalized.

    As such, they are a threat to millions of American jobs, and to the well-being of millions of American families. They belong in jail.

    Anyone who is in favor of the H1-B visa program is an enemy of the United States. Anyone who acts as a lobbyist for the H1-B program is an enemy of the United States, and is most likely guilty of illegal campaign contibutions and money laundering.

    The destruction of Jeb Bush’s political career was a good start. Marco Rubio is next.

    That crook from the IEEE is way down the target list, but he is certainly deserving of censure.

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  4. Dr. Matloff,

    I am in agreement on just about everything to you say. But I have to chime in on this. Companies do not want employees. They want contractors like Infosys, TCS, Accenture, IBM, and ton of other outfits like them. It gives them far more flexibility to administer abuse and contractors are far cheaper than employees. No benefits, unpaid hours, pay cuts, furloughs and more avenues to exploit the cheap labor. I am not sure what the fix for this mess is. But making companies accountable for the abuse of contractors is not a bad thing IMHO.

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