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genscn
09-08-2006, 12:14 PM
WASHINGTON: H-1B visa holders are "taken advantage of" and, contrary to claims by US industry, are paid less salary than similarly qualified American citizens, says a new study.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) vice president Phiroz Vandrevala even admitted that his company enjoys a competitive advantage because of its extensive use of foreign workers in the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas, according to the study by IEEE-USA, a unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

"Our wage per employee is 20-25 per cent less than US wages for a similar employee," Vandrevala said.

"Typically, for a TCS employee with five years experience, the annual cost to the company is $60,000-70,000, while a local American employee might cost $80,000-100,000.

"This (labour arbitrage) is a fact of doing work onsite. It's a fact that Indian IT companies have an advantage here and there's nothing wrong in that. The issue is that of getting workers in the US on wages far lower than the local wage rate."

IEEE-USA president Ralph W. Wyndrum, Jr. said proposals now before Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap should be scrapped until significant workforce protections for US and H-1B employees are instituted.

"Not paying market wages to H-1B holders is unfair to both foreign and domestic high-tech workers," Wyndrum said.

"H-1B employees are being taken advantage of, and some US workers' salaries are likely suppressed by the influx of thousands of additional job competitors. The wage problem is one symptom of how deeply flawed the H-1B programme is."

Findings showing H-1B holders earning less than the market wages paid to US technology workers include:

1) Immigrant engineers with H-1B visas may be earning up to 23 per cent less on an average than American engineers with similar jobs, according to documents filed with the US Department of Labor (DOL). Salary data from Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) lends credence to arguments that lower compensation paid to H-1B workers suppresses the wages of other electronics professionals.

2) In spite of the requirement that H-1B workers be paid the prevailing wage, H-1B workers earn significantly less than their American counterparts. On an average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13,000 less than Americans in the same occupation and state. Applications for 47 per cent of H-1B computer programming workers were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers.

3) Some (H-1B) employers said they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified US workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage.

According to IEEE-USA vice president Ron Hira, the concept of "prevailing wages" is worthless as a safeguard for US and H-1B workers.

"Proponents of the H-1B programme say that by law H-1B workers must receive prevailing wages, but this is a legal fašade so full of loopholes that it is frequently gamed by employers to pay below-market wages," Hira said.

"This is another myth of the H-1B programme, that prevailing wages are the same as market wages."

A review of the DOL's LCA database for FY 2005 shows some of the well-below-market wages employers have been certified to pay H-1B workers.

For example, Teja Technologies received permission to pay a software engineer $10,900. Infosys Technologies was authorised to pay a programmer analyst $20,030. TCS was certified to pay a computer programmer $20,571, and Syntel Inc. was permitted to pay a computer programmer $31,304.

Under law, US employers have three options for determining an H-1B employee's prevailing wage. According to the DOL, an employer can request a "prevailing wage determination from the appropriate State Workforce Agency; use a "survey conducted by an independent authoritative source"; or use "another legitimate source of information".

Despite the law's intent, Hira enumerated a few ways companies circumvent the law's prevailing wage requirements when hiring H-1B workers:

* By selecting a survey source with the lowest salaries;
* By misclassifying an experienced worker as entry level;
* By giving the person a lower-paying job title than one reflective of the work to be performed;
* By citing wages for a low-cost area of the country, then sending an employee to a higher-cost area.

One reason it is so easy for employers to underpay H-1B holders is they know how to exploit the loopholes and have almost no chance of ever being investigated, the study noted.

Even if they were investigated, the loopholes are so large most of the employers would likely be found following the letter of the law.

First, DOL's automated review of LCAs is limited to looking for missing information or obvious inaccuracies; no human looks at the applications.

Second, if a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) review finds that an H-1B worker's income on the W-2 form is less than the wage on the original LCA, DHS does not have a way to report the discrepancy to DOL.

"It's a self-policing system that is never actually checked," Hira said. "The law itself is written in a way to invite exploitation. It should be no surprise that firms take advantage of the loopholes."

perm2gc
09-08-2006, 12:28 PM
WASHINGTON: H-1B visa holders are "taken advantage of" and, contrary to claims by US industry, are paid less salary than similarly qualified American citizens, says a new study.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) vice president Phiroz Vandrevala even admitted that his company enjoys a competitive advantage because of its extensive use of foreign workers in the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas, according to the study by IEEE-USA, a unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

"Our wage per employee is 20-25 per cent less than US wages for a similar employee," Vandrevala said.

"Typically, for a TCS employee with five years experience, the annual cost to the company is $60,000-70,000, while a local American employee might cost $80,000-100,000.

"This (labour arbitrage) is a fact of doing work onsite. It's a fact that Indian IT companies have an advantage here and there's nothing wrong in that. The issue is that of getting workers in the US on wages far lower than the local wage rate."

IEEE-USA president Ralph W. Wyndrum, Jr. said proposals now before Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap should be scrapped until significant workforce protections for US and H-1B employees are instituted.

"Not paying market wages to H-1B holders is unfair to both foreign and domestic high-tech workers," Wyndrum said.

"H-1B employees are being taken advantage of, and some US workers' salaries are likely suppressed by the influx of thousands of additional job competitors. The wage problem is one symptom of how deeply flawed the H-1B programme is."

Findings showing H-1B holders earning less than the market wages paid to US technology workers include:

1) Immigrant engineers with H-1B visas may be earning up to 23 per cent less on an average than American engineers with similar jobs, according to documents filed with the US Department of Labor (DOL). Salary data from Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) lends credence to arguments that lower compensation paid to H-1B workers suppresses the wages of other electronics professionals.

2) In spite of the requirement that H-1B workers be paid the prevailing wage, H-1B workers earn significantly less than their American counterparts. On an average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13,000 less than Americans in the same occupation and state. Applications for 47 per cent of H-1B computer programming workers were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers.

3) Some (H-1B) employers said they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified US workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage.

According to IEEE-USA vice president Ron Hira, the concept of "prevailing wages" is worthless as a safeguard for US and H-1B workers.

"Proponents of the H-1B programme say that by law H-1B workers must receive prevailing wages, but this is a legal fašade so full of loopholes that it is frequently gamed by employers to pay below-market wages," Hira said.

"This is another myth of the H-1B programme, that prevailing wages are the same as market wages."

A review of the DOL's LCA database for FY 2005 shows some of the well-below-market wages employers have been certified to pay H-1B workers.

For example, Teja Technologies received permission to pay a software engineer $10,900. Infosys Technologies was authorised to pay a programmer analyst $20,030. TCS was certified to pay a computer programmer $20,571, and Syntel Inc. was permitted to pay a computer programmer $31,304.

Under law, US employers have three options for determining an H-1B employee's prevailing wage. According to the DOL, an employer can request a "prevailing wage determination from the appropriate State Workforce Agency; use a "survey conducted by an independent authoritative source"; or use "another legitimate source of information".

Despite the law's intent, Hira enumerated a few ways companies circumvent the law's prevailing wage requirements when hiring H-1B workers:

* By selecting a survey source with the lowest salaries;
* By misclassifying an experienced worker as entry level;
* By giving the person a lower-paying job title than one reflective of the work to be performed;
* By citing wages for a low-cost area of the country, then sending an employee to a higher-cost area.

One reason it is so easy for employers to underpay H-1B holders is they know how to exploit the loopholes and have almost no chance of ever being investigated, the study noted.

Even if they were investigated, the loopholes are so large most of the employers would likely be found following the letter of the law.

First, DOL's automated review of LCAs is limited to looking for missing information or obvious inaccuracies; no human looks at the applications.

Second, if a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) review finds that an H-1B worker's income on the W-2 form is less than the wage on the original LCA, DHS does not have a way to report the discrepancy to DOL.

"It's a self-policing system that is never actually checked," Hira said. "The law itself is written in a way to invite exploitation. It should be no surprise that firms take advantage of the loopholes."
Senators and Anti Immigration people like Dobbs should read the article.

boreal
09-08-2006, 12:30 PM
WASHINGTON: H-1B visa holders are "taken advantage of" and, contrary to claims by US industry, are paid less salary than similarly qualified American citizens, says a new study.

If not for the Consultancies (big and small alike), H1-B employees would not have been maligned like this. These consultancies hire the employee for the prevailing wages, and if for some reason cant find a project, 'bench' him without payment. Thats how the annual salary goes down, though the employer has agreed to pay the prevailing wages.
I usually dont see this for 'regular' employees who are not in the clutches of Consultancies. I am paid quite a decent amount and have been getting good salary since my Masters. And so do my friends. But, obviously media only prints what 'sells'. Anyways, to summarize, this press statement is only partly true.

-B

GCSOON-Ihope
09-08-2006, 12:37 PM
About this one:
I had an H1B employer who paid me half, yes half, what he was supposed to.
When I went to the INS office in Downtown Los Angeles to complain, I was told by that lady (whose accent was even stronger than mine):
"If you are not happy, you can always go back to your home country."
I spoke with an attorney about suing this employer and/or filing a complaint through DOL, he told me: "Alas, this situation is frequent but there is not much we can do, you would just be wasting your time and money..."
So, if there is a truth about H1B workers depressing wages, it's due to crooked employers and nobody else, all workers being victims.
Welcome to America.

vparam
09-08-2006, 12:38 PM
WASHINGTON: H-1B visa holders are "taken advantage of" and, contrary to claims by US industry, are paid less salary than similarly qualified American citizens, says a new study.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) vice president Phiroz Vandrevala even admitted that his company enjoys a competitive advantage because of its extensive use of foreign workers in the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas, according to the study by IEEE-USA, a unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

"Our wage per employee is 20-25 per cent less than US wages for a similar employee," Vandrevala said.

"Typically, for a TCS employee with five years experience, the annual cost to the company is $60,000-70,000, while a local American employee might cost $80,000-100,000.

"This (labour arbitrage) is a fact of doing work onsite. It's a fact that Indian IT companies have an advantage here and there's nothing wrong in that. The issue is that of getting workers in the US on wages far lower than the local wage rate."

IEEE-USA president Ralph W. Wyndrum, Jr. said proposals now before Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap should be scrapped until significant workforce protections for US and H-1B employees are instituted.

"Not paying market wages to H-1B holders is unfair to both foreign and domestic high-tech workers," Wyndrum said.

"H-1B employees are being taken advantage of, and some US workers' salaries are likely suppressed by the influx of thousands of additional job competitors. The wage problem is one symptom of how deeply flawed the H-1B programme is."

Findings showing H-1B holders earning less than the market wages paid to US technology workers include:

1) Immigrant engineers with H-1B visas may be earning up to 23 per cent less on an average than American engineers with similar jobs, according to documents filed with the US Department of Labor (DOL). Salary data from Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) lends credence to arguments that lower compensation paid to H-1B workers suppresses the wages of other electronics professionals.

2) In spite of the requirement that H-1B workers be paid the prevailing wage, H-1B workers earn significantly less than their American counterparts. On an average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13,000 less than Americans in the same occupation and state. Applications for 47 per cent of H-1B computer programming workers were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers.

3) Some (H-1B) employers said they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified US workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage.

According to IEEE-USA vice president Ron Hira, the concept of "prevailing wages" is worthless as a safeguard for US and H-1B workers.

"Proponents of the H-1B programme say that by law H-1B workers must receive prevailing wages, but this is a legal fašade so full of loopholes that it is frequently gamed by employers to pay below-market wages," Hira said.

"This is another myth of the H-1B programme, that prevailing wages are the same as market wages."

A review of the DOL's LCA database for FY 2005 shows some of the well-below-market wages employers have been certified to pay H-1B workers.

For example, Teja Technologies received permission to pay a software engineer $10,900. Infosys Technologies was authorised to pay a programmer analyst $20,030. TCS was certified to pay a computer programmer $20,571, and Syntel Inc. was permitted to pay a computer programmer $31,304.

Under law, US employers have three options for determining an H-1B employee's prevailing wage. According to the DOL, an employer can request a "prevailing wage determination from the appropriate State Workforce Agency; use a "survey conducted by an independent authoritative source"; or use "another legitimate source of information".

Despite the law's intent, Hira enumerated a few ways companies circumvent the law's prevailing wage requirements when hiring H-1B workers:

* By selecting a survey source with the lowest salaries;
* By misclassifying an experienced worker as entry level;
* By giving the person a lower-paying job title than one reflective of the work to be performed;
* By citing wages for a low-cost area of the country, then sending an employee to a higher-cost area.

One reason it is so easy for employers to underpay H-1B holders is they know how to exploit the loopholes and have almost no chance of ever being investigated, the study noted.

Even if they were investigated, the loopholes are so large most of the employers would likely be found following the letter of the law.

First, DOL's automated review of LCAs is limited to looking for missing information or obvious inaccuracies; no human looks at the applications.

Second, if a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) review finds that an H-1B worker's income on the W-2 form is less than the wage on the original LCA, DHS does not have a way to report the discrepancy to DOL.

"It's a self-policing system that is never actually checked," Hira said. "The law itself is written in a way to invite exploitation. It should be no surprise that firms take advantage of the loopholes."

Yes few companies do this and not all, it is known that TCS and infosys do this and the people whom they pay such wages are people who are deperate to come to US. I work as vendor in a big software company, i am on H1B and get paid more than my superior , who is a fulltime employee, that is because i have already been here in H1b for 7 years and strill waiting for GC but i am ready to go back if i am not paid what i need to be paid. remember a lot of indians are returning even though they get a good salary and are full time in top companies becuase their buying power is more in india...

The trend is changing now a days only freshers in india also thinking before agreeing for those salaries because they can earn more and be more happy and come here as tourist which was not affordable before.... IEEE always bulshits when it comes on h1b> they forget that the majority income comes from membership in india. I guess IEEE india should be able to counter Lou dobss (unrealistic)versions of IEEE USA

nixstor
09-08-2006, 01:20 PM
I agree that the H1B program is broken due to the simple fact that it is tied to the employer. H1B program is FOR employers and NOT for employees and they call the shots. The H1B program is designed on a wonderful assumption that employers are "NOT EVIL". Look around the world and every other country's immigration policy or guest worker program considers that the economy needs them and doesnt tie them to an employer. I am doing very good on the monetary side but I wish I had that mobility and so many people does. If a H1B can go to a diff employer and command more salary without any administrative hassles or losing PD's I bet most of the H1B's will satisfy the prevailing wage or will beat it satisfactorily.

People who shout about H1B abuse should try to mend the H1B program instead of crying about XYZ is abusing it. I am sure most of the people here would like to see H1B being more flexible and doesnt enslave people to employer's whims and fancies.

gsc999
09-08-2006, 01:44 PM
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) vice president Phiroz Vandrevala might be in trouble because of his quote. His company might have to increase salaries of all H1B's by 20% now :D I guess IEEE will than complain that H1B get more salaries than Americans. :eek:

Anyways, I hope he is talking about total cost of ownership ( so to speak) vs just the salaries. Americans usually avail more medical beneficts and vacation time than their h1b counterparts that might be the cause of this whole issue. It is interesting how higher productivity of H1bs is being spun as depressing wages for Americans.

dixie
09-08-2006, 09:55 PM
I agree. IEEE-USA shouts itself hoarse on the issue of H1-B abuse, but does not recommend anything to fix those loopholes .. with the exception of doing away with the program altogether that is. Had they advocated balanced reform with clauses to plug the loopholes and get rid of the enslavement clauses, then they were worthy of support. Anyways it is ridiculous to see a professional organization of engineers and scientists conducting "research" on such dubious political causes. It would be interesting to see what percentage of IEEE-USA's membership is foreign-born though.


I agree that the H1B program is broken due to the simple fact that it is tied to the employer. H1B program is FOR employers and NOT for employees and they call the shots. The H1B program is designed on a wonderful assumption that employers are "NOT EVIL". Look around the world and every other country's immigration policy or guest worker program considers that the economy needs them and doesnt tie them to an employer. I am doing very good on the monetary side but I wish I had that mobility and so many people does. If a H1B can go to a diff employer and command more salary without any administrative hassles or losing PD's I bet most of the H1B's will satisfy the prevailing wage or will beat it satisfactorily.

People who shout about H1B abuse should try to mend the H1B program instead of crying about XYZ is abusing it. I am sure most of the people here would like to see H1B being more flexible and doesnt enslave people to employer's whims and fancies.