Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bias against American tech workers by Dan Miller and Juliana Barbassa

Eight firms used 87% of all H-1b applications in 2006 Harrisburg, PA – and all eight are owned and managed by Indian immigrants, with average salary around $45,000

Dear Dan Miller and Juliana Barbassa,

Please consider the Programmers Guild's objections to the bias in Dan's article Tech workers push for immigration reform in today's Patriot News. Dan's article is leveraged from a prior AP article Tech workers still looking for immigration change by Juliana Barbassa.

Note that I am quoted in the AP article, but in such a way that it appears that the Programmers Guild supports expansion of the green card quota, which we do not. Instead, as I had told Juliana on the phone, we believe that H-1b should only be granted in the rare cases where no qualified Americans are available - at any price. Then there would not be so many H-1b trying to use this temporary visa as a basis to obtain citizenship. (What I didn't say on the phone was that I don't believe a temporary work visa should even be a path to citizenship - it should only be used until an American can be located and trained to fill the job: If I took a job in Switzerland on a temporary work visa, I not would be so arrogant as to demand that I be granted Swiss citizenship.):

Legal immigrants who feel squeezed by limits on the number of green cards issued each year are trying to separate their complaints from the protests by illegal immigrants. . .

The green card application system is akin to ''indentured servitude,'' said Kim Berry, president of the Programmers' Guild, a group that opposes current work visa laws. ''It takes years for the green card sponsorship to happen, and they can't leave, can't ask for a raise unless they want to lose their place in line.''

The article states:

"It gets too frustrating sometimes," said Sandeep Bhatia, a software engineer from Mumbai, India, who first applied for a green card in 2001. Since then, Bhatia has completed an MBA.

Of what relevance is getting an MBA? Is there a shortage of MBA holders in the USA? I've known several programmers who obtained an MBA at night school. Typically it has no value in the programming profession. Note that none of the positions on the Harrisburg, PA Craigslist cite MBA as even a desired qualification.

The article states:

American-born tech workers who criticize the visa system argue the annual influx of 65,000 foreign workers like Bhatia takes jobs from Americans and puts a damper on all salaries.

Out of the entire article, that is the only sentence supporting the viewpoint of American Citizen (not "American-born") U.S. workers. Everyone that you quote in your article is a special interest - immigrant seeking citizenship, immigration attorney seeking to expand business, or business trying to maximize profit. You fail to interview a single U.S. worker or representative organization, nor evaluate whether the concerns are valid.

a) Please see the comments from the290 signers of the October 15th IEEE rebuttal letter. Many claim to have been directly harmed by H-1b, and many have indicated that they will speak to the media.

b) I have personally witnessed cases where qualified Americans were not hired solely because an H-1b applicant appeared to have slightly higher qualifications. But in every instance the Americans who were passed over were highly qualified to fill the positions. Bodyshops FIRST bring in H-1b workers, THEN they swamp job ads with the resumes of their H-1b staff. At that point it is ILLEGAL for employers to give any preference to Americans over temporary foreign workers.

c) Here are the H-1b applications for 2006 in Harrisburg, PA, sorted by number of employees sought.

We typically see that the largest H-1b users are Indian-run organizations that blatantly discriminate against workers who do not share their nationality, and pay below market wages.

Bingo. The top user is Mphasis Corporation with 90 applications, all within a salary range of $42,000 to $47,382. And as expected, the management of Mphasis Corporation are Indians.

The second largest user is Fortune 500 Systems, Ltd, requesting 20 "programmer analyst," all at a salary of $40,000. Here are the names of their software developers.Would you agree that this suggests a bias against hiring Americans? Their website conceals ownership information. But the LCA Records reveal that the CEO is DNYANOBA (KEN) KENDRE - the same as the CEO for the fourth largest user, below.

The third largest user is iBusiness Solution, LLC, requesting 17 programmer analysts with salary ranges from $48,000 to $52,000. They appear to be owned and managed by Indians. The LCA was filed by President Srivastava Pramod.

The fourth largest user is Global Heathcare Group - not IT related. CEO "DNYANOBA (KEN) KENDRE" is an Indian "from Latur district in Maharashtra" - same CEO as the second top user. Here he is shaking hands with the Governor Edward Rendell of PA, apparently getting congradulated for displacing skilled Americans with Indians earning $40,000 salary.

The fifth largest user is Satyam Computer Services, Ltd, a large Indian consulting firm, requesting 10 programmers with salaries ranging from $47,020 to $67,413.

The sixth largest user is Prima Technologies, LLC, requesting 7 "computer programmer" for $48,000. The LCAs reveal that the owner is "Nagesh Chilakapati" - and the only street address on their website is in India.

The seventh largest user is CLUTCHPOINT,LLC, requesting 4 "system analysts" for salaries of $48k and $49k. The LCAs reveal that the CEO is SIVARAMA KARISHNA GOGINENI - sounds Indian to me. Google does not even find a website for them. Their LCA address is 600 North 2nd Street, Suite # 500. To avoid the risk of libel, let's just call these facts "suspicious."

The eighth largest user is CYBRID, INC. requesting 3 "Software Engineer" for salaries of $60k to $65k. The LCAs reveal that president is "Kanthy Vaylay." Their website conceals ownership and management information. Google for their address "4807 Jonestown Road" suggests that this is a mail box drop. Their website is strikingly similar to Independent H1B which bills itself as a H-1b sponsorship bodyshop and with greencard services.


Why is it that the vast majority of businesses in Harrisburg are able to meet all of their staffing needs without a single H-1b visa, but that eight Indian-owned businesses account for 87% of all H-1b applications in that city?

This sampling supports the Programmers Guild's contention that H-1b are underpaid and used disproportionately by Indian bodyshops that discriminate against U.S. workers that are not the same nationality as the owners.

The article states:

Kelly Lewis, president and CEO of the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania, estimated that workers holding H-1B visas make a small number of high-tech employees in the midstate. "We're probably just in the general Harrisburg area short 500 to 1,000 technology professionals right now," Lewis said.

Indeed. TCCP represents several Indian-based bodyshops that would flood in as many H-1b consultants at $40k per year as possible, giving them a competitive advantage against firms that hire Americans at market wage.

The article states:

Tom Richwine is president of Immigration Support Services, a company in Silver Spring Twp. Richwine said his company helps about 1,000 employers nationwide process H-1B visas and green cards. H-1B visas represent just 0.7 percent of the nation's work force, "so it's not like we are displacing U.S. workers with foreigners," he said. Richwine said the federal government must provide more new H-1B visas and increase green cards available for high-tech workers. "We could easily absorb 150,000 [new H-1B visas] a year without any problem," he said. "We've got to provide a path to come to the U.S."

Tom is a biased in that he is probably getting rich on the backs of thousands of qualified American tech workers by processing H-1b applications. Given his bias, journalism standards suggest that an opposing interest should have been asked to rebut his claim.

FACT: H-1b are concentrated in the tech sector, which has about 3,600,000 workers. Over 500,000 H-1b have flooded into this sector since 2000, while the total number of jobs has remained flat.

FACT: Even the optimistic BLS projection for 2002-2012 project only 146,500 "[t]otal job openings due to growth and net replacements" annually "Computer and mathematical science occupations" (SEE PAGE 83)

FACT: The tens of thousands of Americans graduating with BS degrees in this field are facing unfair competition with skilled H-1b workers willing to work for $40,000 in order to get out of their overcrowded countries.

FACT: There is no requirement to even consider qualified Americans before sponsoring and H-1b, and industry lobbyists are adamantly opposed to adding any such protection. If such a protection were added and enforced, the number of H-1b entering the U.S. would drop substantially, and the "Green Card Backlog" bemoaned in this article would not be a factor.

FACT: The Craigslist postings for Software professionals do not suggest that any special labor shortage exists. There are only a few posts per day, just as for the other occupational categories.


Anonymous said...

Why not have members of Programmers Guild apply to these Indian bodyshops and then file a class-action lawsuit based on discrimination when they are all turned down.

Anonymous said...


Are you claiming that PG is not a special interest group? Do you claim to have the backing of millions of American tech workers?

Anonymous said...

Many points raised by PG are valid. Actually many h1bs replacing american jobs and there are some jobs which has shortages. Actually if any increase in H1b numbers is done there should be strict provision that American jobs are not displaced. Otherwise H1b should not increase. There is an argument that H1b work force is less than 1% of US labor. That is distorted figure. They have to take how many percentage of High tech industry. Also every year 140k persons awarded green card out of 100k H1bs. So the percentage of H1b will be always less than 1%. But real staticics can be get by seeing how many new jobs are created for past 10 years and in that how many foreigners are added every year by calculating H1b and Green card persons for last 10 years. That will give real picture

Anonymous said...

These Union Guys wont last long - as history has shown. Globalization and free markets are good for the overall society.

Anonymous said...

Well, globalization is something which are inevitably coming. With or without citizenship and all of those worker union issue, work force supply for IT & programmers are mostly dominated by our indians friend.

The act of getting aligned or against things like discrimination and citizenship are only temporary adaptation towards major world change these days.

To make our working life easy and stay focused, everyone need to keep professional, provide the best possible services and find opportunity niches.

J.C. Carvill

Anonymous said...

There is a simple way to only award H1B visas, when there is a real shortage. Congress should require all H1B visa holders get paid >$200,000 , and index it to inflation. Then, all the companies would stop using H1B visas.

Anonymous said...

It is good idea to pay 125k to 200k for H1b persons. That will curb abuse.

Anonymous said...

As American technology workers it's long past time that we all get together as a group, protest loudly together, and most of all REFUSE TO TEACH YOUR OFF-SHORE\H-1B REPACEMENT HOW TO DO YOUR JOB. They're going to get rid of you anyways, so just tell your manager to "%^&* OFF" when they tell you to train your new Indian co-worker and leave with your knowledge and your dignity.

I also think that we American workers need to start boycotting any company that's outsourcing or using H-1B workers. Hell, it was us AMERICAN programmers who created this industry - it's up to us to take it back or shut it down.

Anonymous said...

"The LCAs reveal that the CEO is SIVARAMA KARISHNA GOGINENI - sounds Indian to me."

What????? So an English sounding name is the only one that qualifies to be called as a United States citizen? So you are an Apache or Navajo tribe? Your name doesnt seen like one from the tribe... sounds ridiculous right? Now consider how ridiculous your comments are... Next you see a guy with a brown skin, you will say he cant be American? Where have you been all this while dude?

Anonymous said...

Intersting that some of these 'commenters' use broken English that is almost unreadable. How professional!!

I happen to live in the Harrisburg area & my job was outsourced to a green card holder. I was good friends with this person but he didn't know what he was doing when I worked with him. He was given my position working with a client that I had developed a very good working relationship with. Needless to say, the client was not very happy with his 'level' of service & eventually terminated the contract. I'm sure this happens all over.

I'm also familiar with a mail-order prescription drug company in Mechanicsburg, PA that hired 35 H1-B workers from a local bodyshop & zero American workers when they started up operations. Now they are hiring additional workers for help-desk positions. Yes the Harrisburg area is a major outsourcing market & getting worse by the month thanks to people like Ed Rendell & newspapers like the Patriot-News.

Have a great day..

Horace Jones said...

This statistic does seem to be somewhat skewed. After all, why would we want such a large majority of skilled immigrants to be concentrated on one area? Ideally, people with a green card visa would be spread out. But then again, if these companies were the ones that filled out apps properly and timely, then there might be no grounds for disputing the concentration of skilled immigrants.