Article 43

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

H1-B Abuse - Still Alive And Well

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Abuse CAN ONLY take place if enough people are SILENT about it, which is to say that those who are silent about the abuse are complicit in it. EVIL can only PLAY ITSELF OUT without restraint when good people see what is happening and do nothing. Staying silent in the PRESENCE OF ABUSE, though seemingly a passive role, is to unwittingly play an active role enabling our own victimization.
- Paul Levy

As US IT jobs are cut, H-1B use by offshoring vendors rises
Hiring trend affecting the IT workforce: Offshore outsourcing firms based in India are employing a growing number of H-1B workers

By Patrick Thibodeau
Infoworld
February 25, 2009

The U.S. government’s H1-B visa usage DATA for fiscal 2008 shows that offshore outsourcing firms based in India are employing a growing number of H-1B workers - a hiring trend that is affecting the IT workforces in communities such as Oldsmar, Fla.

Oldsmar is the home of a technology center operated by The Nielsen Co., which measures TV audiences, consumer trends and other metrics for its clients. Nielsen last year began laying off workers at the facility after announcing in October 2007 a 10-year global outsourcing agreement valued at $1.2 billion with Tata Consultancy Services.

And while Nielsen cut employees, Mumbai, India-based Tata was increasing its hiring of H-1B workers. Tata received approval for a total of 1,539 H-1B visas during the federal fiscal year that ended last September, according to government data released this week. That was nearly double the 797 visas that the outsourcing and IT services vendor received in fiscal 2007.

In Oldsmar, “they are still bringing in Indians,” said Janice Miller, a city councilwoman who lives about a mile from the Nielsen facility. “And there are a lot of [local] people out of work.”

Nielsen received a variety of state and local incentives in 2001 to build the $100 million technology center. Because some of the incentives were pegged to employment levels, the company reported actions such as its layoffs to local officials. But after the public uproar over the cutbacks, Nielsen last July said it would end its use of tax breaks from Oldsmar and Florida’s Pinellas County that had saved the company a total of $1.4 million.

Nielsen officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the current employment levels at the tech center. On its Web site, the company says 1,500 people work at the facility and details its multimillion-dollar contributions to the local economy. But Nielsen doesn’t say how many of those workers are contractors. In July, Nielsen said it expected to have about 1,300 employees in Oldsmar by the end of last year, plus 250 or so contract workers.

The number of H-1B visas that can be issued annually is capped by Congress at 65,000, plus an additional 20,000 set aside for foreigners who hold advanced degrees from U.S. universities. But while the total of available visas remains constant, the number issued to the major offshoring vendors is rising.

The four largest H-1B recipients last year are all based in India: Infosys Technologies , with 4,559 visas; Wipro, with 2,678; Satyam Computer Services, with 1,917; and Tata. The number of visas issued to Infosys was identical to what it received in fiscal 2007, but Wipro, Satyam and Tata all saw increases.

In total, the top 10 IT services firms on the H-1B list received nearly 13,300 visas last year, almost 1,000 more than they were issued in 2007. Some of those companies are based in the U.S., such as Cognizant Technology Solutions. But they all have substantial operations in India or other offshore locations.

With the overall number of IT jobs in the U.S. declining because of the economic recession, there has been some backlash in Washington over corporate use of H-1B workers. The $787 billion economic stimulus plan signed into law by President Barack Obama last week includes restrictions on H-1B hiring by financial services firms that receive federal bailout funds. But the restrictions don’t affect outsourcing vendors that provide IT services to the financial sector.

In an interview last week, Srini Pallia, vice president and global head of business technology services at Wipro, said that if the restrictions increase on H-1B visa use, his company has a “Plan B” that would include hiring more workers in the U.S. “We definitely have people locally who will be on the project,” he said.

But Pallia said that restrictions such as the ones in the stimulus package may well drive more IT work offshore from companies that were previously looking at an on-shore, on-site model—in other words, companies that would have kept at least some of their work in the U.S.

SOURCE

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Indian offshoring vendors top list of H-1B recipients
Microsoft was the leading U.S.-based recipient of H-1B visas during 2008, getting a total of 1,037 visas—up slightly from the year before

By Patrick Thibodeau
Infoworld
March 2, 2009

MICROSOFT was the leading U.S.-based recipient of H-1B visas during the federal government’s 2008 fiscal year, getting approval for a total of 1,037 visas—up slightly from the number it received the year before.

But the the FOUR LARGEST H1-B RECIPIENTS were outsourcing and IT services firms based in India. And on an overall basis, their use of the controversial visa program also increased in fiscal 2008, according to government data released last week.

Topping the list was Infosys Technologies, with 4,559 visas, followed by Wipro, SATYAM COMPUTER SERVICES, and TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES. The number of visas issued to Infosys was identical to what it received the year before, but the other three vendors all saw their visa counts rise.

The overall NUMBER OF IT JOBS IN THE UNITED STATES is declining because of the economic recession, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses in Alexandria, Va. The NACCB found that IT employment declined by nearly 50,000 jobs in December, after falling by almost 34,000 in November.

Janice Miller, a city councilor in Oldsmar, Fla., said that workers from India continue to be brought in to work at a technology center operated in Oldsmar by The Nielsen Co. On the other hand, she said, “there are a lot of [local] people out of work.”

Nielsen, which is best known for measuring TV audiences, began laying off some of its employees at the Oldsmar facility last year, on the heels of announcing a 10-year, $1.2 billion outsourcing agreement with Tata in October 2007.

The $787 billion ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL signed into law by President Barack Obama two weeks ago restricts H-1B hiring by financial services firms that receive federal bailout funds. But those limits don’t affect outsourcing vendors that provide IT services to the financial sector.

Srini Pallia, vice president of business technology services at Wipro, said his company will likely hire more workers in the United States if the RESTRICTIONS ON H1-B USE are expanded. But, Pallia added, such restrictions may well drive companies that planned to keep IT work in the United States—even if it would be done partly by H-1B holders—to look offshore.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 02/25/09 •
Section Dying America
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