Backlash Stirs in US Against Foreign Worker Visas

Laura Wides-Munoz and Paul Wiseman, Seattle Times, July 8, 2014

Kelly Parker was thrilled when she landed her dream job in 2012 providing tech support for Harley-Davidson’s Tomahawk, Wisconsin, plants. The divorced mother of three hoped it was the beginning of a new career with the motorcycle company.

The dream didn’t last long. Parker claims she was laid off one year later after she trained her replacement, a newly arrived worker from India. Now she has joined a federal lawsuit alleging the global staffing firm that ran Harley-Davidson’s tech support discriminated against American workers–in part by replacing them with temporary workers from South Asia.

The firm, India-based Infosys Ltd., denies wrongdoing and contends, as many companies do, that it has faced a shortage of talent and specialized skill sets in the U.S. Like other firms, Infosys wants Congress to allow even more of these temporary workers.

But amid calls for expanding the nation’s so-called H-1B visa program, there is growing pushback from Americans who argue the program has been hijacked by staffing companies that import cheaper, lower-level workers to replace more expensive U.S. employees–or keep them from getting hired in the first place.

“It’s getting pretty frustrating when you can’t compete on salary for a skilled job,” said Rich Hajinlian, a veteran computer programmer from the Boston area. “You hear references all the time that these big companies . . . can’t find skilled workers. I am a skilled worker.”

Hajinlian, 56, who develops his own web applications on the side, said he applied for a job in April through a headhunter and that the potential client appeared interested, scheduling a longer interview. Then, said Hajinlian, the headhunter called back and said the client had gone with an H-1B worker whose annual salary was about $10,000 less.

“I didn’t even get a chance to negotiate down,” he said.

The H-1B program allows employers to temporarily hire workers in specialty occupations. The government issues up to 85,000 H-1B visas to businesses every year, and recipients can stay up to six years. Although no one tracks exactly how many H-1B holders are in the U.S., experts estimate there are at least 600,000 at any one time. Skilled guest workers can also come in on other types of visas.

An immigration bill passed in the U.S. Senate last year would have increased the number of annually available H-1B visas to 180,000 while raising fees and increasing oversight, although language was removed that would have required all companies to consider qualified U.S. workers before foreign workers are hired.


Critics say there is no across-the-board shortage of American tech workers, and that if there were, wages would be rising rapidly. Instead, wage gains for software developers have been modest, while wages have fallen for programmers.

The liberal Economic Policy Institute reported last year that only half of U.S. college graduates in science, engineering and technology found jobs in those fields and that at least one third of IT jobs were going to foreign guest workers.

The top users of H-1B visas aren’t even tech companies like Google and Facebook. Eight of the 10 biggest H1-B users last year were outsourcing firms that hire out thousands of mostly lower- and mid-level tech workers to corporate clients, according to an analysis of federal data by Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology. The top 10 firms accounted for about a third of the H-1Bs allotted last year.


Last month, three tech advocacy groups launched a labor boycott against Infosys, IBM and the global staffing and consulting company ManpowerGroup, citing a “pattern of excluding U.S. workers from job openings on U.S soil.”

They say Manpower, for example, last year posted U.S. job openings in India but not in the United States.


Infosys spokesman Paul de Lara responded that the firm encourages “diversity recruitment,” while spokesman Doug Shelton said IBM considers all qualified candidates “without regard to citizenship and immigration status.” Manpower issued a statement saying it “adopts the highest ethical standards and complies with all applicable laws and regulations when hiring individuals.”

Much of the backlash against the H-1B and other visa programs can be traced to whistleblower Jay Palmer, a former Infosys employee. In 2011, Palmer supplied federal investigators with information that helped lead to Infosys paying a record $34 million settlement last year. Prosecutors had accused the company of circumventing the law by bringing in lower-paid workers on short-term executive business visas instead of using H-1B visas.

Last year, IBM paid $44,000 to the U.S. Justice Department to settle allegations its job postings expressed a preference for foreign workers. And a September trial is set against executives at the staffing company Dibon Solutions, accused of illegally bringing in foreign workers on H-1B visas without having jobs for them–a practice known as “benching.”

In court papers, Parker claims that she was given positive reviews by supervisors, including at Infosys, which she maintains oversaw her work and the decision to let her go. The only complaint: Her desk was messy and she’d once been late.


A company spokeswoman said Infosys has about 17,000 employees in the U.S., about 25 percent U.S. hires. In filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it has more than 22,000 employees with valid temporary work visas, some not in the U.S.

Stanford University Law School fellow Vivek Wadwha, a startup adviser, said firms are so starved for talent they are buying up other companies to obtain skilled employees. If there’s a bias against Americans, he said, it’s an age bias based on the fact that older workers may not have the latest skills. More than 70 percent of H-1B petitions approved in 2012 were for workers between the ages of 25 and 34.


Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California, Davis, agreed that age plays into it–not because older workers are less skilled but because they typically require higher pay. Temporary workers also tend to be cheaper because they don’t require long-term health care for dependents and aren’t around long enough to get significant raises, he said.


Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Someone who took this H-1B matter up as a political issue recently?

    You might have heard of him. His name is Dave Brat.

    In related news:

    www (dot) bloomberg (dot) com/news/2014-07-08/silicon-valley-s-talent-grab-spawns-high-school-interns.html

    Cool, right?

    Well, not so much.

    They’re being used as cannon fodder in SV firms’ maniacal desire not to hire native born white Americans over the age of 35 with wives and children, you know, the ones that actually want to get paid serious money for their work because they have the audacity to think that they should make enough money and benefits to sustain a household, a house of their own in a quality public school district. They’re going to pay high school kids $12,000 or so at most for two to three months of essentially spending every waking hour at the job to do far more work than just $12k of pay should warrant. Borderline slavery IMHO.

    • Pro_Whitey

      Yes, it’s not just the nominal reduction in wages, but the substantial degradation of working conditions, where the employers can work the H-1Bs all hours because the H-1Bs will stick around for a chance at permanent residence.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      Classic Dave Brat (from his May 28 press conference on immigration):

      The Chamber [of Commerce] wants low-skilled cheap labor. Mark Zuckerberg wants high-skilled cheap labor. But at the end of the day what they all have in common is that they want cheap labor, and Eric Cantor wants to give it to them.

      That is why I am calling today for Eric Cantor to make public the names of all the corporate executives and lobbyists he and his staff have met with to discuss immigration. What are the names of all the corporate donors, lobbyists, and CEOs who have lobbied Eric Cantor for cheap labor.

      Congressman Cantor, whom have you met with? Make this information public. Tell us who has been lobbying you. What do you have to hide?

      * * *

      Bye-bye, Eric Cantor.

      • Billy Clinter

        An Israeli politician selling out America?


  • I have 79 US and foreign patents awarded, and nobody in Colorado ever calls me to work for them. 719-266-0768.

    Crickets chirping.

    I should probably be bitter, but at this point it has become hard to care.

    • You should probably also keep your phone number under the vest, unless you want the conga line of vinyl siding scam artists calling you all the time.

      • I’m already a violent federal felon on the terrorist watch list. My FBI file says “firearms expert, explosives expert, chemist, ex-mercenary”. Are the scammers going to bother me on the telephone, let alone come here? I just don’t see it.

        When we receive junk mail, it goes right back, marked “refused”. I once saved up the advertising scrap paper junk mail for a whole year, and then filled a US mailbox with that. I figured if I should have to sort real mail from garbage, they should have to do so as well. I once pressed criminal harassment charges against a company that kept sending me their junk mail.

        Someone bothering us on the telephone is nothing.

        • RisingReich

          Well I was going to say your felony along with your long ‘forced vacation’ from working might have something to do with not being contacted, but I’ve also read on here you’re not interested in working, anyhow.

          Having said all that – I’ve also said this to you. We will need White people and advanced White minds like yours in difficult subject matter during both the fight and especially in reconstruction.

          Keep the powder dry and your head held high until then.

        • RisingReich

          How does one obtain one’s own FBI file?

          • I have no idea now. I read it from the other side across a desk at formal intake in Oklahoma City. The airport there actually has a jail inside it, and I spent a week there. You get right off the airplane on a special concourse.

          • dd121

            I don’t know about now, but at one time a police chief could request an FBI file.

    • JP Rushton

      No one will hire you because a quick Google search turns up a not so flattering article about your past.

    • El_Baga_Doucha_Libtard

      You are one interesting guy. If there was a vote for the AmRen poster that other AmRen readers would most like to meet, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t be the favorite to win that one.

      • Mr. dd121 thought I was enjoyable company. I would like to meet Bon, though since I am already married, that is probably not the best idea.

      • awb

        Scott & Spartacus. Enjoyed one, STILL enjoy Scott.

  • benvad

    We’re going to get to a boiling point where a revolution will happen and heads will roll. Anyone who says big corporations are dems or repubs by interests is full of it.

    Big business will latch on to any affiliation as long as it contributes to their bottom line.

  • propagandaoftruth

    Where’s Zuck?

    • Marc Zuckurburg

      This news has me so depressed that I had to see my therapist. But my wailing depressed her so much that she had to see a therapist herself. That means all I could do is to console myself with my own mantra:

      Middle class greed hurts billionaires in need.

      • propagandaoftruth

        Thanks for soldiering on.

        • Marc Zuckurburg

          Hey thanks for the kindness. It’s been a real knock you on your back sort of day for this. Because of this news that the proles are starting to get wise, and one other thing too. Turns out my wife does nothing but spend my money. I’m telling you, she’s starting to develop an unhealthy obsession with acquiring material goods, almost just for its own sake. It’s, like, almost a form of greed. I don’t know where she gets it from, but it’s going to stop. Now. I mean it, I’m not kidding this time.

          • propagandaoftruth

            Gotta put your foot down at some point. Shoulda gone Japanese. They like tentacle porn.

          • Alexandra1973

            I heard they sell used underwear in vending machines. Not joking.

          • dd121

            Stay strong!

  • TruthBeTold

    It’s been obvious to me for many years that the push for more Visa tech workers was to drive down wages. My only questions were why didn’t tech workers see it or act on it?

    • JohnEngelman

      Tech workers lack organization. Also, they tend to be “rugged individualists” until they lose their jobs and discover that self reliance is not enough.

      • Self-reliance works pretty well here.

        • Zaporizhian Sich

          At least you won’t be betrayed that way.

          • The money sucks this way.

          • Zaporizhian Sich

            Maybe so, but money’s not everything. I leave that to our enemies, because in the end you cannot take it with you when you die. It doesn’t bring love or happiness either.

      • RisingReich

        “Tech workers lack organization” and “self-reliance is not enough”.

        I’d rather be ‘self-reliant’ than align myself with the traitorous likes of your kind that would love to sell me and everyone one else like me out to your favorite tribe and slant eyed just so you can feel confident you’re not all Nazi.

  • JohnEngelman

    H-1B visas not only harm the interests of science, technology, engineering, and science (STEM) workers who are American citizens. They harm the interests of the countries the people who get the H-1B visas come from. Those countries would benefit if their tech workers got jobs at home.

    • RisingReich

      I’ll be sure to cry a river for the ‘home countries’ of these invaders.
      Keep empathizing with the enemy as they mow all of us down, John.

      • JohnEngelman

        You are projecting your hostility onto them.

        I do not feel hostile to foreigners with H-1B visas. They are just trying to get ahead in life. My hostility is directed to the American employer – investor class that would rather hire them than American citizens. The great majority of these employers and investors are white Gentiles.

        Employers and employees have a symbiotic relationship. They both benefit from a growing economy. Nevertheless, there are issues where their interests conflict. H-1B visas are one of those issues.

        • RisingReich

          You’re GD right I’m hostile to them and anyone whom empathizes with them, aids them, makes excuses for them, employes them and shields them from hostility.

          Since you brought it up (you always do) I could give a RIP what you, or anyone else claims the harmless ‘motivation’ is to come here. “Gentile” (GOD I hate this Jewish term) investors and/or business owners who promote it are also very deserving of this hostility you speak of.

          Consider yourself included, since you’re so overly concerned about the poor, down trodden INVADERS “just trying to get ahead in life” at the expense of WHITE AMERICA.

          • JohnEngelman

            Do you admire the Third Reich?

        • RisingReich

          Also, you’re pretty dim witted to write posts saying you want to tattoo invaders whom enter over the southern border via foot, but concerned about the welfare and ‘getting ahead in life’ pursuits of those that are flown in and christened with an official license to displace Whitey in his home land.

          It seems you’re awfully confused.

          • JohnEngelman

            You are confused. You cannot distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. The United States is a democracy. What matters is not what you want. It is what most of the voters want.

          • Lt. Greyman, NVA

            No, it is not a “democracy” but a Constitutional Representative republic. It matters what the representatives want. If they want no immigrants at all, (like Japan) then they pass legislation to reflect such.

          • John R

            I actually have more respect for the Mexican mestizo squat monsters who brave the desert and risk death coming over the border all to do some low level job that admittedly I wouldn’t want to do anyway, than the snot nosed Indians that act like they are smarter than us and are taking jobs from young White middle class college graduates. To HELL with them! If I were in charge, you wouldn’t want to KNOW what I would do…

        • Lt. Greyman, NVA

          This is why tariffs work, and why Jefferson could run the Country with no internal taxes what so ever. Tariffs force the Country to be self sufficient (hence the Kentucky rifle, Pennsylvania rifle) while the absolute necessities (like Steam Engines) are allowed in but taxed. People learn to use native things as substitute or care for difficult to replace taxed items.

          • John R

            Ahhhh…..tariff. When have we last heard that beautiful word? Admit it, countries in the past have always used devices like tariffs to protect home industries. Free trade is B.S.! END FREE TRADE!

    • John R

      Harms the home countries as well? “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a….”

  • JohnEngelman

    The STEM Crisis Is a Myth, By Robert N. Charette, Posted 30 Aug 2013

    there are more STEM workers than suitable jobs. One study found, for example, that wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated
    since 2000. Even as the Great Recession slowly recedes, STEM workers at
    every stage of the career pipeline, from freshly minted grads to mid-
    and late-career Ph.D.s, still struggle to find employment as many
    companies, including Boeing, IBM, and Symantec, continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers…

    about 15 million U.S. residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a
    STEM discipline, but three-fourths of them—11.4 million—work outside of

    The departure of STEM graduates to other fields starts early. In 2008,
    the NSF surveyed STEM graduates who’d earned bachelor’s and master’s
    degrees in 2006 and 2007. It found that 2 out of 10 were already working in non-STEM fields. And 10 years after receiving a STEM degree, 58 percent of STEM graduates had left the field, according to a 2011 study from Georgetown University…

    more than 370 000 science and engineering jobs in the United States were lost in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

    Long-term employment with a single company has been replaced by a series
    of de facto temporary positions that can quickly end when a project
    ends or the market shifts. To be sure, engineers in the 1950s were
    sometimes laid off during recessions, but they expected to be hired back
    when the economy picked up. That rarely happens today. And unlike in
    decades past, employers seldom offer generous education and training benefits to engineers to keep them current, so out-of-work engineers find they quickly become technologically obsolete.

    • RisingReich

      As if you really care.

  • MBlanc46

    It’s past time to start fighting back. Good on these people.

  • “Turkish corporation…charter schools”

    Must be the Gulen cult.

  • disqus_irCdmAu8It

    South Asian Indians pose a grave threat the the USA.

    • JohnEngelman

      The American plutocracy poses a grave threat to American employees.

  • Lt. Greyman, NVA

    When you said, “i’m very Liberal.” you let the Totalitarian peek out. Freedom means I live how I want to and you can either duel me or have a cup of ‘shut the hell up’.

    The USA is full of “thinkers” like you

    . While personally I agree with your feelings, your response about being “barred from reproducing” shows the dark side.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Thank you for saying this.

  • blackjack322

    Obama is doing this on purpose and blaming congress “For not taking action.”

    In other words, he’s punishing us by allowing thousands of them to come in. He’s doing this on purpose to force congress to move on immigration. Guarantee you this mass migration will continue until congress caves. Congress needs to stand its ground and say no. This will come back and hurt Obama, because once non-obama immigration reform is passed, then those migrants will just get deported, giving us a victory and him a loss.

    I have an idea of some “action” that needs to be taken in regard to Obama.

  • Who Me?

    Where the heck is Tajikistan?
    On the other hand you can have fun with those callers, provided it is a real person on the other end, not a recording. Start with asking them how they are, what’s the weather like there, go into humane conditions, the state of their economy and any other sort of distracting, off-the-wall idiot stuff. Get creative, tell them the person they are trying to contact is on “safari” in Africa and you need the phone line cleared in case they get eaten by a lion…(that’s one of the cleanest ones I’ve used). There are plenty more things you can tell or ask them, completely off topic and guaranteed to put them off their sales stride, if only for a moment.

  • It probably went like this:

    The overt purpose was cheap labor.

    Dispossessing white men of a prosperous career track as a means to wreck the historic American nation fell out of the design.

  • John R

    I would have said you were being paranoid, but actually what you say makes perfect sense. Notice that these visas are not being used to replace workers in areas where blacks and Hispanics work? Yes, it does seem like an actual strategy of White replacement.

  • John R

    “They generate jobs….” Hey, numbnuts. Economics 101, no worker, no matter how “skilled” and “hard working” can produce enough “growth” to “generate” his own job that he will be taking. It takes, I have heard, over $100,000 of capital investment to generate one job. What this man says makes no sense from an economic standpoint. An immigrant cannot generate their own job. (Rolling my eyes.)

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Of course they can’t. If an immigrant could generate their own job, they would do so in their country of origin.

      Don’t get caught up in the ‘reasoning’. The reasoning is not intended to be persuading, it is intended to be distracting.

      Congresscreatures can say whatever they please, I know in my heart I am against them, and that is my focus.

      re-elect NOBODY.

      Earnest engagement with other people can be a sublime pleasure, but you gotta pick your partners or you’ll kill yourself with frustration.

  • propagandaoftruth

    Closer to 50 than 40, my friend. In that my birth date includes three sixes and is suspiciously close the founding of the church of non-theistic Satanism…

    I keep hoping that maybe I might yet be some form of late blooming antichrist myself, perhaps not unlike Hitler after all, you know?

    Might not be so bad. Nice benefits, woe to my enemies, good for my friends, things not really worse after all, you know? Gimme money. I’ll copyright that one and repeat it over and over, mantra-like and subliminal at the same time.

    Thanks, man. Been contemplating doing a little stand-up, actually. Last refuge for a scoundrel, eh?

    • Usually Much Calmer

      You could do us a lot of good if you’re funny.

      Humor has so much potential, Propaganda of Truth.

      • propagandaoftruth

        I actually have pretty good timing and delivery in person, plenty of material. Late blooming antichrist, my book on male female relationships for the masses, “men are pigs and women are b!tches: deal with it”, some observations involving potty mouth stuff like anal sex and pegging, polygamy, blue waffles and sketchy IHOPs, sex bonobo pets, etc.

        My friends have been suggesting I give it a shot. It would be nice to make a little money, get some fans, then reveal myself in a controlled manner, unlike poor Michael Richards.

        Who knows eh? Amateur night is Wednesday I think at the local comedy club.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    Yeah, people change, though. Our society is changing very fast and we are all adapting and two people may personally adapt in ways that make them less compatible. What to do then? Misery or independence? Independence would be my choice.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    No. We need to stop making excuses for people who can’t manage their own ‘stuff’. <- you know what I mean.