Despite the fact that technology companies regularly complain about the shortage of American tech workers, these same companies continue to layoff workers. Many of these companies have replaced American workers with foreigners from the H-1B program. Some of the major offenders include Intel and Disney.
Making matters more upsetting for these employees is that they are often forced to participate in “knowledge transfer” sessions in order to better equip their replacements for the job.
These replacements are typically younger and cheaper workers who are hired from another country, such as India. And employees are given no choice but to assist the people taking over their jobs; if they refuse, they will most often be denied their proper severance bonuses.
A recent event exactly like this took place at the tech center for Disney. Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger blatantly lied to Congress when asked if they were favoring cheap foreign labor over American workers. Iger has worked in the past to lobby for increases in the amount of temporary worker visas.
This month, the foreign tech worker visa program known as H-1B will enter its 25th year of existence. Originally, the program was designed to bring in very highly-skilled foreigners to alleviate shortages in niche specialty fields. Some people have referred to the program as the “genius visa”. However, the program has developed a reputation as the “outsourcing visa”, as now even basic tech jobs are being filled using the H-1B program.
Indeed, the idea that there is a shortage of American tech workers is completely false. Companies are just trying to cover-up the fact that they can get foreigners to work for less money. They don’t want to look bad when they let go of American employees.
While the H-1B program was a good idea at the time, it has become an obvious method for companies to sack workers with little repercussions. And now it is American workers who are suffering.
According to data from the United States Census Bureau, roughly 15 million Americans have college degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. However, more than 75% of these Americans are not currently employed in one of these appropriate fields.
Clearly there isn’t a lack of American workers. There is a lack of employers willing to pay them. One recent study showed that there are more than four qualified American job candidates for every single electronics-engineering job that is listed as an H-1B position. Additionally, nearly 50% of all new information technology hires in the United States are foreigners.
Perhaps most alarming is that fact that some politicians are trying to expand the H-1B program without even offering more protections for American workers. Both Republicans and Democrats have talked about expanding the program.
While the program might bring more net earnings to big names in Silicon Valley, it is disastrous to American engineers and technology workers. Someone needs to step up in order to save the jobs of the hard American workers.