Tuesday, 06 February 2018 08:16

H-1B visa changes will mean US firms get them instead: claim


The whole point of making changes to the H-1B visa system is so that Indian outsourcing companies are deprived of the visas and American companies can use them instead, according to a veteran US tech journalist.

Robert Cringely, who has been a tech journalist since the late 1970s, said in his latest column on his website that it was for this reason that Indian companies — like Infosys — were hiring US citizens as fast as they could.

After Donald Trump was elected last year, there have been various changes to the H-1B visas which allow 85,000 workers each year to come and work in the US in jobs for which US employees cannot be found.

The changes include strictures on spouses of H-1B holders taking up work and tightening of renewal procedures.

Cringely, who was one of Apple's first employees, said there was a misunderstanding about the H-1B visa – it was not meant to bring some supremely talented individual to the US.

"That’s not true. There IS such a visa but it’s an O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visa, not an H-1B. If these H-1B folks were actually so accomplished they’d come to work here as O-1s, which are unlimited in number," he said, adding that H-1B visas were just meant for competent workers who could do jobs for which US citizens could not, provably, be found.

US companies were gearing up for the changed environment by indulging in practices that would make it look as though they were looking for qualified US candidates and not being able to find them, he claimed.

"Toward that end, for example, I’m hearing that one big company that rhymes with IBM is starting to use recruiters whose native language is not English," he said.

"This is not to say that non-native speakers can’t learn wonderful English or be consummate H.R. professionals, but the track record of big companies that rhyme with IBM is not good in this area."

Despite making billions in profits, even big companies like Apple and Google could not bring themselves to pay the going rate for workers if they could avoid it, Cringely said.

"The Trump Administration sure isn’t going to make them do it, either. And for these reasons I predict that the H-1B visa programme may change in 2018 but its problems will remain pretty much the same."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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