Senators Durban and Grassley are now sounding the alarm over H1-B Visa applications, claiming that big evil Indian outsourcing firms are scamming the system to move American jobs overseas.
Sorry, but I don’t buy their reasoning. The facts are laid out in the most prejudiced manner possible, and even then the numbers don’t add up to alarm. Basically, we find that Wipro and Infosys “rotate” about 1,000 people from U.S. back to India per year. That’s all. That’s the whole story.
For starters, we’re talking about a pool of 65,000 visas that disappears in just 2 days. If Grassley is worried that 1,000 of those visas could have gone to people who are more likely to put down roots in America, he should just vote to up the quota. The demand so completely outweighs supply that it’s pointless to argue about 1,000 visas.
Next, the idea that people given H1-B Visas shouldn’t be permitted to go back to their country of origin is absurd. Many outright citizens are going back to China and India to resettle and do business, why would it be different for H1-B visa holders? Perhaps if the number were something like 50%, that would be a different story, but where do you draw the line? Is 1 of 65 really a “scam”?
Finally, they seem concerned that Wipro and Infosys are “foreign-owned”. Who cares? If an American company bought Infosys, would that make everything suddenly better? The fact is, the entire American industry depends on these two companies, and whether we decide to purchase them outright is a simple business decision that has nothing to do with politics. These two companies have higher ratios of rotation, but that’s due to the nature of their business. The senators seem to think that rotation should be evenly distributed across all companies, which makes no sense. And the moment you admit that rotation will be distributed unevenly, you have a factor that can be used by alarmist senators to pick out and victimize some companies.
Of course, to the extent that these companies are using rotation to keep employees in virtual indentured servitude, we have reason to complain. That is, if there is a significant portion of rotated employees who would rather stay in the U.S. and put down roots, the H1-B visa system should apply pressure to make that possible. But I don’t see the senators investigating that, and in fact the alarmist and isolationist policies are largely to blame for the fact that skilled workers are being driven to leave the U.S. after getting experience.