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News » Questions raised over ‘exploitation’ claims vs. U.S. outsourcing firms

Questions raised over ‘exploitation’ claims vs. U.S. outsourcing firms

exploitation vs US outsourcing
Photo from Indianexpress.com

MUMBAI, INDIA — A nonprofit group and lawmakers raised concerns following a report by think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which claimed outsourcing companies in the United States (U.S.) are exploiting the H-1B visa program to underpay migrant workers and offshore U.S. jobs to other countries. 

In its latest report, EPI revealed that 13 of the top 30 H-1B U.S. visa employers last year were outsourcing agencies. 

The EPI research wrote, “Most employers hire H-1B workers because they can be underpaid and are de facto indentured to the employer.”

The analysis added that the program could be easily exploited since employers aren’t required to test the U.S. before hiring an H-1B worker or pay their H-1B workers a fair wage.

However, National Foundation for American Policy Executive Director Stuart Anderson argued that U.S. companies contract with staffing and outsourcing firms because they need the specialized IT services provided by H-1B workers.

California Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas and USCIS Director Ur Jaddou added that forcing H-1B workers to leave the U.S. harms the country’s “long-run economic competitiveness,” referring to the 60-day limit for laid-off H-1B workers to find another employer. 

“Many of these individuals have highly specialized skills and advanced STEM degrees from top U.S. universities,” they added.

Despite these allegations, around 34,000 H-1B visa holders were hired in 2022 following mass layoffs in the tech industry. According to EPI’s data, most new hires were laid-off employees from tech giants like Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft. 

The H-1B program is the largest temporary work visa program in the U.S., with about 600,000 workers employed by 50,000 companies. It was created to fill labor shortages in professional fields, particularly in computer systems analysis and software development occupations.

In January, the U.S. government said they expect their 85,000 H-1B work visa cap to exceed this year as companies seek to fill more tech vacancies. 

Meanwhile, a pending bill was filed last month in the U.S. Senate to amend the H-1B visa law and update the wage, recruitment, and attestation requirements on U.S. employers seeking H-1B or L-1 workers.

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