I’ve warned repeatedly that “solutions” to the foreign tech worker problem should NOT be based on the “Infosys” model. (We could call it the Infosys/IBM model, to emphasize the fact that this model is used by both Indian and American firms.) Here a company hires foreign programmers or other IT workers from a third party, a “rent a programmer” company, then replaces Americans by the newly-hired foreigners. In many cases, the Americans are forced to train their foreign replacements. Note that the third-party companies are the actual employers and visa sponsors.
A number of parties in the H-1B controversy — not only politicians, but also critics of H-1B — have found it convenient to scapegoat the rent-a-programmer firms. “Oh my God, they’re replacing Americans!” But the word “replace” is egregiously misleading. The sad truth is that almost every employer of H-1Bs is abusing the system, by hiring H-1Bs instead of Americans. This is Clintonian parsing of words. (My allusion is of course to Bill — “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” — but Hillary has been deceptive on H-1B issues too.
Case in point: This Chicago Tribune article reports that Senator Durbin unctuously railed against Abbott Laboratories for taking the “Infosys” route. The senator’s bill with Senator Grassley is aimed at stamping out such actions. Think this sounds effective? Think again.
According to MyVisaJobs.com, Abbott applied for permission to hire 358 H-1Bs during 2012-2015, and submitted green card sponsorship applications for 60 foreign workers. Note that these applications were from Abbott itself, not the Infosyses. It is a pretty safe bet that numerous qualified Americans were rejected for many if not all of these jobs.
As I’ve said before, even if third-party hiring of foreign tech workers were totally banned (this won’t happen, obviously), it would be business as usual for Disney, SCE, Abbott and so on, because people like Senator Durbin are not willing to deal with the abuse of hiring of foreign students, INSTEAD OF Americans.
As even Senator Grassley once said, “No one should be fooled.”