Listening to Compete America one would think that H-1b workers are the "best and brightest" in the world, contributing to "U.S. global competiveness." But as the 1/31/08 BusinessWeek article "Are H-1B Workers Getting Bilked?" exposes, H-1b are being used by Indian consulting firms to bring in cheap labor, driving American consulting firms out of business, and displacing highly-skilled U.S. workers.
First, Indian consulting firm Patni undercut American workers when DOL approved the labor condition applications for a "prevailing wage" of $44,000 per year. This is far below the "$45 to $80 per hour" that the Yoh study found to be the average for U.S. workers with "high demand" skills, such as "Database Administrator" and "Application Developer."
What Patni didn't disclose was that the $44,000 "salary" presumed that their workers put in lots of overtime. Their base pay was only $11.72 an hour - they were expected to reach their "salary" by working overtime. But even with 23 days of overtime, one H-1b's annual pay worked out to only $35,305 in 2004.
As State Farm in Bloomington Illinois was laying off their American staff, the LCA Database reveals that Patni Computer Systems was bringing in hundreds of Indians on H-1b visas - many placed at State Farm. As mandated by the U.S. Congress, the Department of Labor rubber-stamped these LCAs (labor condition applications) for wages as low as $27,000 for computer programmers. H-1b workers must have a minimum of a BS degree and specialized skills.
Many of the LCAs were filed by Dayanand Allapur, Vice President HRD 617-914-8367. Patni's main number in Cambridge, MA is 617-914-8000.
Among the Americans who lost their jobs was George Moraetes. He reports having "seen 4 - 5 H1-b's living in a one bedroom apartment" and that the same pattern of H-1b usage was employed by GE.
Contrary to helping the U.S. remain "globally competitive," the top users of the H-1b program are Indian consulting firms. They are transferring U.S. jobs and technology back to India and increasing the U.S. trade deficit. Without the H-1b and L-1 visa programs much of this loss of U.S. tech leadership would not be possible.
Patni is headquartered in Mumbai, India. Their website provides roadmaps for transferring manufacturing offshore: www.igatepatni.com
The U.S. Congress needs to wake up to the imminent threat posed to the U.S. economy by shipping our manufacturing to China and now services to India. Or economy cannot sustain this growing trade deficit and gutting of U.S. infrastructure.