WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley and Richard Durbin today asked the top nine foreign based companies in 2006 that used nearly 20,000 of the available H-1B visas to disclose further details about their workforce and their use of the special visa program.
“More and more it appears that companies are using H-1B visas to displace qualified, American workers,” Grassley said. “Now, as we move closer to debate on an immigration bill, I continue to hear how people want to increase the number of H-1B visas that are available to companies. Considering the high amount of fraud and abuse in the visa program, we need to take a good, hard look at the employers who are using H-1B visas and how they are using them.”
“Supporters claim the goal of the H-1B program is to help the American economy by allowing companies to hire needed foreign workers. The reality is that too many H-1B visas are being used to facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries,” Durbin said. “We have to look at the system that generates these visas and the way they are used. This legislation will help protect American workers first by stopping H-1Bs from being exploited and used as outsourcing visas.”
The letters are part of an effort to determine if the H-1B program is being used for its intended purpose which is to fill a worker shortage for a temporary time period. He said that he expects the companies to cooperate and answer his questions to ensure that accurate information is being used as Congress begins debate on new immigration policy.
Grassley and Durbin recently introduced legislation that would overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to give priority to American workers and crack down on unscrupulous employers who deprive qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.
Here is a copy of one of the letters. Click here to see a copy of each letter.
May 14, 2007
Mr. Nanden M. Nilekani
Chief Executive Officer
Infosys Technologies Limited
6607 Kaiser Drive
Dear Mr. Nilekani:
As members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees, we have a responsibility to oversee and evaluate our country’s visa policies. We have been concerned about reported fraud and abuse of the H-1B and L visa programs, and their impact on American workers. We are also concerned that the program is not being used as Congress intended.
While some Members of Congress have focused on increasing the annual cap of the H-1B program, we believe it is important to understand how H-1B visas are being used by companies in the . We have received helpful data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service with regard to H-1B visa approvals in 2006 for the top 200 participating companies. Your company was one of the top companies on the list. Therefore, we are requesting your cooperation in providing additional statistics and information on your use of H-1B visa workers.
First, some groups, such as the Programmers Guild, have analyzed the wages paid to H-1B visa holders. They have found that the average annual salary of foreign workers is significantly lower than that of new graduates.
Second, a number of consulting firms reportedly recruit foreign workers and then outsource the individuals to other job sites or companies. Many of the top 20 companies that used H-1B visas in 2006 are firms, such as yours, that specialize in offshore outsourcing.
Third, a number of firms have allegedly laid off American workers while continuing to employ H-1B visa holders. The American people are concerned about such lay offs at a time when the demand for visa issuances and the recruitment of foreign workers appear to be increasing.
Because of these concerns, we seek your cooperation in answering the following questions:
We appreciate your cooperation, and respectfully request that you respond to our questions no later than May 29, 2007.
United States Senator United States Senator