Seth’s Story

After witnessing abuses for the past three years, I thought I would provide a “complete picture” of the grand scam that is the H-1B visa program. I am myself of Indian origin and have been a U.S. citizen for 15 years. I’m an insider who knows how the H-1B is wiping out the hopes of young kids and grads’ future and motivation to pursue technology careers.

I was shocked to see the proposal from senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake this week on this issue to “increase this visa cap.” This is a long letter, but please read it fully and patiently. I apologize for my poor English.

I am naturalized U.S. citizen for 12 years now. I was born in India, and I felt I could shed light on some areas of the H-1B scam which American elected officials and typical Americans may not easily grasp. I believe the foreign “takeover” of this high-salaried IT sector has strategic ramifications for the country if not contained. It has already changed demographics of the IT work culture in 99 percent of the corporate sector and has a negative impact on my fellow U.S. citizens who work in IT.

First of all, I am not against the H-1B program per se. I am against what it has become now, i.e. exploiting loopholes and vetting/hiring process in this H-1B visa system. The abuse is rampant, and 70-80 percent of visa holders, over the last decade, were average programmers (and a lot of even below-average skilled workers) primarily here to replace Americans due to their “smooth operators,” i.e., H-1B firm managers (who were Indian-origin H-1Bs themselves a decade ago and have been planted in all of the U.S. corporate sector to push for hiring for these less-skilled but cheaper foreigners). I can say that only about 20-30 percent of H-1Bs are genuinely filling the “skill shortage” in the U.S.The rest are here to up the “business profits” of foreign outsourcing firms, as well as U.S. Silicon Valley giants who lie about the skill shortage as they have become habitual exploiters of Americans as their top brass make 500 times more than software developers.

It is good at last we have a political leader (10 years late though) who has the will to change this rotten system. I worked for a Wall Street bank in technology. It was an Indian sweatshop. Every week in some team or other a fresh batch of so-called cheap Indian workers with some type of visa comes in, and in a few weeks/months a U.S. citizen who may have been there 10 to 20 years is fired.

The offshore consulting firms like TCS, Cognizant, Accenture, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and TechMahindra have deep roots in the tech divisions of Fortune 1000 U.S. companies. And worse, they have even planted their people in key positions in those companies who openly promote offshoring and H-1B folks. They make note of jobs held by native U.S. employees that they will eliminate to make room for H-1B visa holders from Cognizant. The U.S. citizens who are former loyal employees lose their livelihood and find difficulty getting another job.

The whole concept of EEO is eyewash with these offshore firms. They have made it a sport to set up Americans to perform poorly in interviews by taking things to a level not justified and asking irrelevant, nonjob-related questions. This way they demonstrate they can’t find a local person and hence make space for an average Indian programmer who is willing to work 14 hours a day for 8 hours of pay. This is what they are doing at Walmart, Citibank, Bank of America + all Fortune 2000 firms and more. It is not at all about making America competitive if you get Americans replaced by cheap labor. If the middle class gets wiped out, how can America be competitive?

I grew up in New Delhi, India’s capital, and the schools/universities standards are pretty high end. In India, unless one made it to premier IITs (Indian Institute of Technology which is somewhat equivalent of MIT in U.S., but even tougher to get in) or probably 20 other top colleges like IITs, you are considered an “average Joe” in India. So, getting an exceptional job in India would not be easy.

Eighty percent of IIT’s graduates justifiably end up in the U.S., either in Silicon Valley, or as professors, or in recent times in Wall Street as “quants” or “financial engineers.” These IIT folks are really the best in the world in their fields, as there are only 2,000 students who get admitted to IIT from approximately 1MM students who go through the IIT admission tests at high school. These people do make America better. But these are not the people coming over on the H-1B visa and being used to exploit the system by outsourcing firms like Infosys.I have been surprised in my personal experience since 2002. I have worked with H-1B visa colleagues in Fortune 100 companies like Deloitte, PwC, Bank of America and Exelon, as well as the State of Maryland. Eight out of 10 of these H-1B folks were “Average Joes” from India, and they actually would not find a job in the Indian market where expectations are higher than in the U.S.

There was a revelation last year that the biggest IT outsourcing companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Cognizant, HCL, NIIT and a few more were flooding the H-1B lottery system for years, by filing more visa applications than they actually needed to get more visas, and sadly it took 10 years for U.S. authorities to capture this. These are billion-dollar revenue Indian IT companies by the way, who broke the rules for years.

All these years I have seen what was going on, and I was really surprised how the U.S. is giving away its critical industry AND its own kids’ future to the bad policies of extreme capitalism (in extreme, everything is bad). However, the scale of damage is even more alarming than I could have imagined a few years ago, when I could not see the full extent of the actual damage of H-1B.

These folks are capturing the future hiring of internal U.S. positons. Also staffing business of IT and all their recruiters are in Indian call centers and make sometimes 500 calls to U.S. candidates by using a fake U.S. phone #. So the ancillary U.S. jobs (like staffing, administration/accounting of IT contracts) are also getting stolen from Americans, since on the surface it seems one H-1B person took U.S. jobs, but s/he ends up stealing 3-4 more U.S. jobs or even more (if s/he gets to management level or wins trust of U.S. client). This is very alarming (I am again and again trying to give you a picture that one H-1B steals five or more jobs in one year). It is a kind of war going on on the economic side.

5 April 2018