I would like to begin by highlighting an article that was shared with me by one of our activists. The article revolves around an Indian IT staffing firm pleading guilty to H-1B fraud. Unsurprisingly, not a single American media outlet covered the story. You have to follow Indian media outlets to come across stories like this. Here’s a summary of how Cloudgen, the Indian IT staffing firm, committed fraud:
“The company admitted to recruiting multiple information technology workers from India and falsely procuring H-1B visas for them to enter and work in the U.S.
In this bench and switch scheme, the company would file documents with the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) containing fraudulent statements about the availability of work at third-party national employers.
Cloudgen would then submit forged contracts stating each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national. Next, based on those false documents, Cloudgen would submit paperwork to get an H-1B worker’s visa for the Indian national.
However, because the jobs were fake, they were housed in different locations across the country while Cloudgen obtained other employment for them.
Cloudgen took a percentage of the worker’s salary as their fees, earning approximately $493,516 in profits during the course of the conspiracy.”
For those in the IT industry, this is nothing new. This is not a one-off incident, rather it is all too typical and U.S. tech workers are familiar with how these Indian IT staffing firms exploit the H-1B visa program to create fat profits for themselves. Cloudgen’s problem is it got sloppy, and as a result, got caught. If it were more widely reported on in the United States and Europe it would expose how the system is being gamed. There are thousands of Cloudgen companies out there getting away with fraud.
Why is it that American media turned a blind eye to this story? If not for our many activists who comb Indian press outlets, we too would have missed this story.
Different Words, Same Premise
This leads us to another important story that broke this week – the India First Big Tech Green Card giveaway bill is back!
However, much like the scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail wherein the knights who say “ni” announce they are no longer the knights that say “ni” but rather, the knights that say, “Ekky-ekky-ekky-ekky-z’Bang, zoom-Boing, z’nourrrwringnmmm,” the bill has a new name. It is no longer the bill that goes by the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act.” Rather, it is now the bill that goes by the “Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act (EAGLE Act).” Try to say that five times fast!
My guess is in light of the damage done to the reputations of many of the previous co-sponsors, Rep. Zoe Lofgren decided on a name change this time around. The bill still aims to remove the 7 percent country cap quotas for employment-based Green Cards.
One notable change from the previous bill is the inclusion of a Green Card Lite program – an EAD work authorization given to any foreign worker with an approved I-140 petition (employment-based Green Card petition) after two years, even if no Green Card is available. The EAD would essentially afford the same privileges as a Green Card (visa-free travel to the U.S., work for any employer, etc.). We are still reviewing the details of the bill as it recently came out and will be providing additional insights on our social media platforms.
In 2004, George W. Bush made the ridiculous statement that, “Our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling.” The Green Card Lite program is the corporatocracy’s way to implement “any willing worker” should be allowed to come to America, drive down wages and displace American workers vision. If EAD privileges are extended to ANY foreign worker that has the ability to find an employer willing to sponsor them for an employment-based Green Card, the recent spike in wages and benefits we have been seeing will be a thing of the past. “Fifteen dollars an hour you say, I found someone in Hyderabad that will do it $7.20 and with no whining…”
Moreover, why would international students waste their time going the H-1B route when they could take advantage of this EAD before their OPT expires? They could cajole their employers into sponsoring them directly for the employment-based Green Card. I started this newsletter detailing the corruption of IT staffing firms and how they fleece those here on H-1B visas. Think about the black market this Green Card Lite program would create. How big a bribe do you think students on OPT would be willing to pay a sponsor to gain that coveted EAD?
As in prior years, the premise of this bill is predicated on one big lie — Rep. Lofgren argues that a smaller populated country like Iceland gets the same number of employment-based Green Cards allocated to them as a larger populated country like India and that is why India suffers a huge backlog. She never really bothers to explain how exactly this backlog is created.
Instead, she chooses to distract us with the old saw that smaller countries are sending people with “lesser skills” than those countries with larger populations. I mean, this is absolute nonsense! To add insult, she deceptively hides the fact that when a country like Iceland does not use up all the Green Cards allocated to them, they get “spilled-over” to the backlogged countries like India. While every country is allocated a 7 percent country-cap quota, India gets close to 25 percent of the employment-based Green Cards due to the spill-over. Every year, India takes the largest share of the employment-based Green Card pie. Removing the country caps would allow people from India to monopolize all available employment-based Green Cards for the foreseeable future.
Proponents of the EAGLE Act will argue there are H-1B reform provisions added to the bill this time around designed to protect tech workers. But let’s be clear, our issue is with the central premise of this bill. It does not matter what H-1B reforms are added when the whole bill is predicated on a false narrative that will lead to greater incentives to displace Americans.
Any H-1B reform should be a separate bill or part of a larger immigration restructuring bill that moves us toward a merit-based system. This bill does not do that.
I don’t see much chance of this bill going anywhere. It might get through the House with less support than it enjoyed in the last Congress. It will not come close to a vote in the Senate. It is probably little more than an attempt by some useful idiots to demonstrate their willingness to carry the water for their liege lords.
But it demonstrates that forces aligned against the interests of the American worker never sleep. So please do two things that will help us better help you. The first is to share this newsletter with everyone you know and encourage them to subscribe. Second, hit that donate button. The more financial assistance we receive, the more we can do to bring attention to bad legislation and practices. And perhaps, just like in the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, like King Arthur we will simply be able to ignore bad players like the Knights that say “ni” (Rep. Lofgren) and go on about our business.