Ways employers are abusing the H-1B visa

How employers utilize H-1B visas in the U.S.

April 2005 – Programmers Guild

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is soliciting examples of how the H-1B visa is used, and AILA will present these examples to Congress:  http://www.aila.org/contentViewer.aspx?bc=10,3080,5940,9067The Programmers Guild is pleased to assist in their effort to educate Congress, and submits the following ways that corporations, both foreign and domestic, are utilizing the H-1B visa:

1) H-1B visa used to drive down U.S. wages

In 2004 In San Francisco alone hundreds of employers used H-1B visas to fill jobs ranging from accountant to preschool teacher to hotel clerk. In not one of these instances was the employer required to consider qualified U.S. workers prior to hiring the H-1B worker. The salaries on the LCAs reveal that most of these H-1Bs were used to hire foreign workers at below the prevailing wage of U.S. workers, thus harming U.S. workers:


Employer Position Salary
Nihonmachi Little Friends Preschool Teacher 11 hour
Infinite Power Productions, LLC Graphic Designer 14.24 hour
San Francisco Dream Tours, Inc. Content Writer 15 hour
Mabuhay Builders Industrial Engineer 16.26 hour
Dalwong Hotel Group dba The Stratford Hotel Assistant Hotel Manager 16.70 hour
Larson & Savage DBA Complete Business Services Accountant 17.20 hour
Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette Paralegal 17.54 hour
Excel World, Inc. Technical Writer 18.90 hour
Starving Artist Designs Web Developer 23 hour
Rai & Associates, P.C., Law Clerk 31,000 year
Conard House, Inc. Social Worker/Counselor 31,634 year

Immigration attorney Frida Glucoft recently acknowledged that a requirement that H-1B workers get paid the prevailing wage would “likely discourage some companies from hiring H-1B workers.” Computerworld further reports that, in all measured categories, the average salary of H-1B workers entering the U.S. workers has been declining from 2001 to 2003 – even as the prevailing wage has increased:


IT WAGE DATA 2001-2003

JOB CODE FY 2001 AVERAGE H-1B FY 2002 AVERAGE H-1B FY 2003 AVERAGE H-1B % CHANGE ’01-’02 H-1B % CHANGE ’01-’02 U.S. IT % CHANGE ’02-’03 H-1B % CHANGE ’02-’03 U.S. IT
030 $60,357 $60,554 $59,701 -2.8% -1% +1.8%
031 $60,234 $57,041 $56,136 -5% -7% -2% +6.2%
032 $53,024 $48,062 $46,882 -9% -7% -2% +4%
033 $58,933 $54,415 $51,947 -8% +0.8% -5% +1.8%
039 $66,763 $64,883 $64,247 -3% -3.4% -1% +1.5%

030: Software engineer, computer programmer, programmer analyst, engineer and scientific programmer, systems programmer, chief computer programmer, ystems analyst

In January 2005 Computerworld studied the salaries of U.S. IT workers, and found them to be substantially higher than the H-1B average – at least for the Americans lucky enough to have not been displaced by the onslaught of H1-B workers.

Computerworld specifically found that the STARTING SALARY for unskilled U.S. computer programmers was far higher than the salary paid to the “best and brightest, specialized skilled, cream of the crop” H-1B computer programmers:


Programmer/analysts. Starting salaries for programmer/analysts should fall in the range of $52,500 to $83,250, a 3.6% increase over 2004:

2005 Projected Salaries for Fastest-Growing Positions in the U.S.

 Occupation 2005 % Increase Over 2004
Systems auditor $63,250-$81,750 5.1%
Pre- and postsales consultant $53,500-$78,250 3.9%
Programmer/analyst $52,500-$83,250 3.6%
Instructor/trainer $43,250-$65,500 2.6%
Network security administrator $63,750-$90,500 2.3%
Data security analyst $68,250-$93,000 2.2%
Quality assurance/testing manager $64,750-$86,750 2.2%
Disaster recovery specialist $60,500-$90,750 2.2%
Internet/intranet developer $51,750-$74,250 2.0%
Business systems analyst $56,000-$80,500 1.9%

Thus employers are utilizing H-1B visas to hire foreign workers with advanced skills at a lower salary than new-hire American college graduates. This may be a key factor deterring Americans from pursuing Engineering and Computer Science studies.


2) H-1B visa used to displace American Workers

Just last month I personally observed an American with a high GPA, good personal skills, and an advanced degree in Computer Science be denied a position in favor of an H-1B, whose resume was presented by a bodyshop. The employer had said both candidates were qualified for the position, but that the H-1B had more relevant experience. To my knowledge this American is still unemployed, as a direct consequence of the H-1B that forces Americans to compete with the entire Third World for the dearth of American jobs.

This abuse has been going on for a decade, and Congress condones it year after year. In 1994, for example, PC Week reports that insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG) fired 249 workers, forcing them to work for 60 more days to train their H-1B replacements. (Congress has even removed the “H-1b dependent” protection from the statute, that the article references.)

Hundreds of testimonials about H-1B displacement can be found here:


The official unemployment rate for computer programmers exceeds that of the U.S. population in general – and this transition correlates with when, under lobbying by AILA, Congress flooded over 500,000 H-1B workers into the U.S. workforce in just 3 years – causing unprecedented unemployment in this profession:

Now upwards of 25% of U.S. computer programmers are either unemployed or displaced from the profession:



From March 2001 to July 2004 employment in U.S.software and related fields DROPPED from 2.1 million to 1.76 million. (See Figure 5). This does not factor in the additional impact on Americans by the unprecedented flood of H-1B during that same period – as reported by Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in June 2004:



3) H-1B visa used to discriminate based on National Origin

In what appears to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution, employers, predominately from India, come to America with a “business model” of only hiring their own nationality. Here are two examples in the Sacramento area. But the pattern is repeated across the country – employers with hundreds of employees, nearly all on H-1B visas with the same nationality as the employer:


“Rekhi Singh, CEO of El Dorado Hills tech-job placement company R Systems Inc., tells a similar story. In 2000, the height of the technology boom in the United States, his company had 500 Indianworkers doing contract tech work in the United States, and 150 doing the same in India.”

“We have 50 percent less demand nationwide,” said Tamizharasul “Tami” Tangasmay, president and CEO of TekSoft in Roseville. The company specializes in placing East Indian tech workers in contract jobs with big local tech companies; under the terms of his contracts, he couldn’t name the companies.

(But see page 16 OF THIS DOCUMENTTeksoft did advertise one position for an American – a $10/hour position to “Assist in filing H-1B and Green Card applications for our employees.” ) Teksoft’s fake RIR ads ARE HERE.

“’There’s nothing in the law, that I’m aware of, that says a company can’t have 100 percent’” of their employees on H-1B visasHarris Miller, ITAA  Indeed. And Indian interests in the U.S. are currently lobbying Congress to increase the H-1b limit above 65,000 per year, so they can continue hiring “their own” at the exclusion of all other races.


4) H-1B visa facilitates the transfer to U.S. jobs and technology overseas

Employers who wish to offshore – transfer jobs overseas – need to first transfer the knowledge from the U.S. workforce to the foreign workforce.  The U.S. is facilitating this transfer – to the detriment of our national future – but granting H-1B visas to foreign workers to be trained by the Americans that they will displace:


Mike Gildea, AFL-CIO, helped facilitate the appearance and testimony of two displaced workers:

  • Pat Fluno was a former tech employee of the Siemens Corp in Florida. She and her co-workers were replaced by L-1’s who were  “body shopped” into the worksite by an Indian owned outplacement firm that brokers L-1 and  H-1B visas and owns—through its subsidiary operations—facilities in India that are taking in a huge volume of offshored U.S. work. She was one of the workers who had to train the L-1 workers who then replaced her and her colleagues.
  • Sona Shah, a 32 year-old, first generation Indian-American worker, is a former tech worker from NJ who was fired (along with her co-workers) and replaced by guest workers at a company that was using (and misusing) L-1, H-1B, F-1, B and other visa categories. Much of the work that she and her colleagues did has now been outsourced, using the very same guest workers that displaced her and now are back in India. Her story connects the dots of how the L-1 and H-1B visas are used first and then the work is offshored. She has been featured on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Moneyline.


“Allowing white-collar guest-workers into this country exacerbates the offshoring of jobs because companies must import foreign workers to learn our technology and skills. Once the knowledge transfer takes place, the offshoring begins.”


Pioneers of the global economy: Part II: Microsoft India changes landscape

2002-10-02 by Cydney Gillis – Journal Business Reporter

Microsoft’s offices at [Hyderabad’s] Hi-Tec City not only recreate the look but also the feel of Microsoft’s headquarters. In an e-mail from Hyderabad, Srini Koppolu, the IDC’s general manager, said each programmer is free to take an idea to top managers at any time — an open-door policy not common at Indian companies.

The replication of Microsoft’s culture has been possible because many people who worked in Redmond for many years have moved back to be part of the India Development Center,” Koppolu wrote.

Between October 1999 and February 2000, [Microsoft] obtained 362 H-1B visas from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, making it the U.S.’s sixth-largest importer of Indian employees for that period.


[Rochester Institute of Technology public policy professor Ron Hira] believes the India-based companies’ use of visas has helped promote the shift of IT work offshore, an increasingly controversial trend. Visa holders in the United States forge a link back to colleagues in India, he suggested. What’s more, the visa workers bring technology knowledge with them when they return to India, he said.


March 16, 2005 Outsourcing Innovation…And Everything Else – America’s Has-Been Economy


A country cannot be a superpower without a high tech economy, and America’s high tech economy is eroding as I write… So far in the 21st century there is scant sign of the American “new economy.” The promised knowledge-based jobs have not appeared. To the contrary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a net loss of 221,000 jobs in six major engineering job classifications.

Today many computer, electrical and electronics engineers, who were well paid at the end of the 20th century, are unemployed and cannot find work. A country that doesn’t manufacture doesn’t need as many engineers, and much of the work that remains is being outsourced or filled with cheaper foreigners brought into the country on H-lb and L-1 work visas.


The Great American Job Sell Out – Paul Craig Roberts – March 2005

Americans’ employment opportunities are declining as a result of corporate outsourcing of US jobs, H-1B visas that import foreigners to displace Americans in their own country, and federal guest worker programs…There are not too many Americans  willing to accept the pay and working conditions of migrant farm  workers. However, the US is bursting at the seams with unemployed computer engineers and well-educated professionals who are displaced  by outsourcing and H-1B visas.


“America faces serious negative consequences to offshoring. Offshoring of high-tech jobs threatens our national security, exerts downward pressure on high skill wages, and diminishes our tax base.”  (p.23) … I said in my manufacturing report in September 2003, we must ensure that trade does not become a “race to the bottom” by insisting that appropriate worker rights and environmental protections be incorporated into our trade agreements. (p.35)  – OFFICE OF SENATOR JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN – May 11, 2004


Job Drought Continues

By Paul Craig Roberts

Nandan Nilekani is CEO of Infosys, an Indian software development firm.  In an interview with New Scientist (Feb 19, 2005), he noted that outsourcing is causing American students to “stop studying technical subjects. They are already becoming wary of going into a field which will be ‘Bangalored’ tomorrow.”

Bangalore is India’s Silicon Valley. A 21st century creation of outsourcing, Bangalore is a new R&D home for Hewlett-Packard, GE, Google, Çisco, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Motorola, and Microsoft. The New Scientist reports: “The concentration of high-tech companies in the city is unparalleled almost anywhere in the world. At last count, Bangalore had more than 150,000 software engineers.”


5) The H-1B visa used for involuntary servitude

Among the cherished liberties of living in America is that, if employer abuses or is otherwise unreasonable to an employee, the employee can say:

     “F*** you, I quit.”

But, in the case of H-1B workers, the employer grins and responds:

    “Yeah? Well f*** you too, because I hold your visa and passport, and only opportunity for a greencard.”

http://www.ailf.org/pubed/n022100a.htm  (Mirrored at www.programmersguild.org/local/h1b_slavery.html )

“[Indian firms, such as TCS, which contract with U.S. companies to provide computer services] has given birth to a multimillion-dollar industry, shuttling high-tech workers for a lucrative fee from continent to continent. Critics call the companies that find the workers “body shops.” They say the program, known as H-1B, stems from a patchwork of immigration laws and policies triggered by special interests and fueled by a vast pool of unwitting immigrants in pursuit of the American dream.

“Since I was treated like a bonded slave, I didn’t have any other alternative except leaving the company,” Narayanasamy Sekar wrote…

The investigation by the Baltimore Sun found:

  • In violation of federal law, visa holders often collect a small fraction of the salaries they’ve been promised while doing make-work projects and refining computer skills.
  • If workers quit, they are frequently sued by employers claiming damages of $30,000 or more. [TCS H-1B employees still face a $30,000 penalty if they leave the company.]
  • Workers who challenge employers are routinely threatened with being sent back to their homeland.
  • Body shop operators regularly bill U.S. companies at rates three to four times the salary being paid to their foreign workers.
  • U.S. workers have been displaced by less costly foreign labor contracted out to H-1B visa holders.
  • Court records show the visa holders are recruited by contractors, then brought to the United States for assignment. If no job is waiting, the worker may be placed by another body shop, which gets a percentage of the fee.
  • Revenues have soared for visa vending companies created to bring in temporary foreign workers. Mastech Corp. and Syntel Inc. reported combined revenue of well over a half-billion dollars in 1998, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Immigration lawyers collect fees of $2,000 to $2,500 for each H-1B application. With a limit of 115,000 H-1B visas per year, that represents some $230 million a year in potential legal fees. “It’s the bread and butter for a lot of people,” said Kenneth Rinzler, an immigration lawyer in Washington, who said he advises his clients against using H-1B visas.

Copyright © 2000
Balitmore Sun


We would discuss how Bank of America used H-1B visas with Kevin Flanagan. But he committed suicide in the B of A parking lot after being terminated – following the humiliation of being forced to train to Indian workers who would take his job back in India:

“The Bank has also acknowledged that it had asked local workers to train foreigners because such knowledge transfer was essential.”



The Programmers Guild has presented several ways that employers are using the H-1B visa. None of them, however, serve the best interests of U.S. workers – nor the nation as a whole. They serve only to enrich a minority of CEOs and provides $200 million in annual revenue to the AILA immigration attorneys that process the visas.


Mr. Kim BerrySacramento, CAPresident, the Programmers Guildkim@programmersguild.org