The H-1B solution

Every year the mad dash of H-1B filings in the first week of April sends thousands of petition to the Citizenship and Immigration Service’s doorstep. If the Citizenship and Immigration Service gets more than 65K + 20 K for US Master’s Degree holder, they do a lottery, and a lucky few get in.
This year, even before the mailings began, the Citizenship and Immigration Service and Department of Labor separately issued “plans to protect American people from H-1B discrimination”. This blog demonstrates that while fraud does exist in the H-1B situation, and Government should take measures to stop the fraud, the measures proposed by the Government may not achieve their goals.
Designed to get the brightest and the best from other countries, we do see many H-1B employees not qualified to do the job. Indian Computer Consulting Companies usually from the Andhra Pradesh region of India bring in people from that region, even though, often, their qualification is suspect. They make up false “resumes” with skill set they do not possess; are placed in big companies and they then “learn on the job”. They thereby slow up American productivity. The employees have several “resumes” highlighting skills they do not possess, and placed in those jobs. That should be prohibited, and yes, penalties should be enforced for those consulting companies.
To remedy that, Citizenship and Immigration Service has said that it will target site visits and audits of these companies. It has also established an e mail address to report fraud in the system. The problem with the e mail approach is that the email might be used by hate groups to report non white employers falsely, creating a waste of government resources.
The Department of Labor has the following plan to remedy this situation:

• Rigorously use all of its existing authority to initiate investigations of H-1B program violators. This effort to protect U.S. workers will also involve greater coordination with other federal agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security and Justice for additional investigation and, if necessary, prosecution
• Consider changes to the Labor Condition Application for future application cycles. The Labor Condition Application, which is a required part of the H-1B visa application process, may be updated to provide greater transparency for agency personnel, U.S. workers and the general public.
• Continue to engage stakeholders on how the program might be improved to provide greater protections for U.S. workers, under existing authorities or through legislative changes.
The problem is that laws already exist to protect the American people. The Employers have to pay the Employee a prevailing wage, and H-1B employees cannot be paid more than American workers. Site visits wont do away with fraud, because the fraud is not that the Employee is not getting paid, but that the employee is not qualified. My proposals are:

1. DO away with an artificial H-1B quota. This quota and lottery leads to a mad dash of filings, and the lottery does not, and cannot pick the brightest and the best.

2. Change the nature of the Computer Consulting business. Right now, when big companies have a project, they contract the project out to a “Vendor”. These vendors then contracts with other vendors and staffing companies to get the necessary personnel. Instead, the companies themselves need to hire staff who will look for Employees to fill the project. These are all short time, part time projects. This staff can look for the project leader and they will be given time deadlines to get projects finished. If it is discovered that someone cannot work efficiently, and if that person is on H-1B, then their visas will be taken away, and they will not be permitted to enter USA again. Drastic, I know, but necessary to stop fraud. Google and Facebook does not tolerate this. Why should big Companies with short projects do?

For more information contact Annie Banerjee at Banerjee & Associates

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