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NYT: US Silicon Valley Companies Responsible for Anti-Indian Staffing Company Rules in Senate Bill

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The Times has an interesting piece about the background of the H-1B provisions in the Senate immigration bill. In particular, the role that some of the largest American tech companies played not only in getting the H-1B cap raised, but in making it much more difficult for IT staffing companies - particularly the big Indian IT staffing firms - to be able claim numbers in the cap. To some extent, this seems to be a little payback. A few Indian IT staffing firms have filed massive numbers of applications and America's employers have been squeezed out of having access to these vital visas. They're also blamed fairly or unfairly for various abuses that have damaged the reputation of the H-1B program. And they're finding few friends rushing to their defense.


Silicon Valley lobbyists told Senate negotiators they agreed that the H1-B
visa system had been subject to abuse. Go after the companies that take
advantage of guest worker visas and give us the benefit of the doubt, they told
the Senate staff members, according to interviews with several lobbyists.


"You know and we know there are some bad people in this
system," is how Scott Corley, the president of Compete
America
, a technology industry coalition, recalled the conversation. "We
are simply trying to make sure that as they are pursuing the rats they are not
sinking the ship." That acknowledgment, several lobbyists said privately,
helped unlock an impasse in negotiations.


What emerged was a Senate measure that allows American technology companies
to procure many more skilled guest worker visas, raising the limit to 110,000 a
year from 65,000 under current law, along with a provision to expand it further
based on market demand. The bill would also allow these companies to move
workers on guest visas more easily to permanent resident visas, freeing up more
temporary visas for these companies.


But it requires them to pay higher wages for guest
workers and to post job openings on a Web site, so Americans can have a chance
at them. And it draws a line in the sand between these technology firms and the
mostly Indian companies that supply computer workers on H-1B visas for
short-term jobs at companies in the United States.

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    "But it requires them to pay higher wages for guest workers and to post job openings on a Web site, so Americans can have a chance at them. And it draws a line in the sand between these technology firms and the mostly Indian companies that supply computer workers on H-1B visas for short-term jobs at companies in the United States."

    I happen to read the other blog pretty thoroughly. Forgetting for the moment that jobs can be moved abroad and the audits, I would like to see the enforcement mechanism. They can always play around with the hiring rules. One such unspoken rule is the salary history and American experience and of course the hidden rule of racial discrimination. Unless congress clearly prohibits basing the salary of the person hired in America on what the prospective employee earned abroad, and pay according to American wage scales, the corporations will find a way to get around the issue. And the GOP will never go for abolishing basing salary on salary history.
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