Bloomberg has a story which is supposed to tear at our heart strings but I have a different reaction. In profiling out of work derivatives technology workers, Fired Doctor of Derivatives Waits to Cry as Finance Jobs Vanish Bloomberg tries to show the pain of the greater than 250,000 jobs lost.
Firstly, it is precisely these derivatives, mathematical models which are part of the problem, so these people losing their jobs does at least imply banks are no longer just cranking out black box mathematical models (ahem) to generate more products and massive fees.
Also buried within this story is the L-1 Guest worker visa.
Merrill Lynch fired Raj on Jan. 22 after he’d worked on the bank’s technology systems for 10 years. He got a promotion in 2006, sold his house in London, gave away the dog and moved his family to the U.S. Now, he’s scrambling to leave before his nine weeks of severance runs out and his L-1 work visa -- his right to be in the country -- is void because he’s out of a job.
Half a dozen calls to Merrill in three weeks -- some furious, some teary -- have yielded nothing, says Nita on a wintry February Friday. The New York-based firm so far has refused to pay the family’s $10,000 moving expense, buy four one-way plane tickets or help figure out how to let the children finish the school year, they say. Nita can’t work without a permit, and Raj, 45, has little time to find another company to sponsor him. The two British citizens don’t qualify for U.S. unemployment benefits.
A L-1 Visa is an intra company transfer visa. It means one works for another division overseas and it supposed to be used as a temporary Visa to bring in overseas employees for a short project or training purposes.
Now firstly why exactly was someone on a L-1 temporary guest worker Visa for over 10 years?
Secondly, note how Merrll Lynch isn't paying a dime for these people's way back home. On a L-1 guest worker Visa, corporations can fire employees and leave them stuck in the United States with zero funds or assistance to leave. That's just wrong. An international move is not cheap usually at least $12,000 dollars. Of course that L-1 visa worker has no right to a job for it is simply a temporary intra-corporate Visa, it's simply so multinational corporations who have offices around the globe can have their employees temporarily come to the United States for a short period.
Something seriously stinks if Merrill Lynch had workers on temporary Visas for a decade. Even more suspect is were these workers imported via another company, working on contract within Merrill Lynch?
I don't know but this is clearly an example of what can happen when people are traded like commodities by multinational corporations and body shops.