Friday, January 13, 2006

Americans need not apply for Indian BPO jobs

SiliconIndia has reported that the Minister of State for Information Technology, Shakeel Ahmed, said requests from foreign nationals for employment visa for jobs, for which a large number of qualified Indians is available, will not be considered. In short, foreigners aren't welcome to apply for working visas in India.

That's right, the Indian government is shutting out Americans who want to find employement in the IT field -in a country where most of the world's IT jobs are now being created. San Jose had its run, and now Bangalore appears ready to reign king in technology. Unfortunately it appears that not even Bangalore is an option for displaced techies now.

Back in the United States Indians use up the vast majority of H1-B and L1 worker visas to gain entry into American technology jobs. While the United States has a worker surplus and India by all accounts has a shortage, the Indian government locks out foreign workers and the US government floods our own market with low-cost workers.

This is further evidence that American workers are getting a raw deal when it comes to outsourcing of American technology jobs. Although I question the decision of the Indian government, I can understand them wanting to protect the jobs of their citizens. Why is that such a difficult concept for American politicians to grasp? When American technology workers are unemployed at above average rates, it is time to decrease the amount of worker visas issued.


At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The American temporary work visa
(H1-B) is authorized by the congress based on the needs of this country and is revised every few years. H1B is issued only for those occupations in which there is a shortage of skilled workers as assessed by the labour department.

There is nothing altruistic about allowing Indians or Chinese to use up most of the H1-Bs. Its pure economics. Investors invest huge amount of money into US economy and they want to hire the best talent the money can hire, and if they decide that the engineers from India are the best, so be it. Its not tax-payers money to bicker about.

If it so happens that it makes economic sense to hire only locals, then the congress would change the H1-B quotas and you won't be seeing any more Indians. But thats not happening any time soon.

On the other hand in India there are so many locals who are capable in doing these jobs, that it does not make economic sense for Indian Govt. to start issuing visas. Infact, if the indian businessmen decide that it makes sense for them to hire Americans then the whole situation will change and you will be allowed to work in India. But thats not happening any time soon too.

So until then, just stay quiet and watch with awe as the miracle of the greatest capitalistic machinery unfolds in front of you. If it crushes a few insignificant pawns in the process, atleast its not discriminating based on your race!

Three cheers to capitalism, and the beautiful karmic principle it follows.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger R. Lawson said...

"So until then, just stay quiet and watch with awe as the miracle of the greatest capitalistic machinery unfolds in front of you. If it crushes a few insignificant pawns in the process..."

I think you said enough. You add no value to the debate because you don't value people. The H1-B program is not based upon the needs of this country. The 65,000 cap is in a trade agreement. It is a completely arbitrary number.

Additionally, there is also the L1 visa filled with its own loopholes.

None of these visas take into account the unemployment rate of IT professionals. Currently that rate is 60% higher than other professional occupations. You could reason that if there is high unemployement in a field, you don't need to increase the supply of foreign workers.

Well, I could reason that. You probably aren't able to reason.

Finally, "economic sense" for whom? It makes economic sense for multinational corporations. It makes no sense for the citizens of this nation. The botton line is that we are a nation first, and not a market first.

Our nation must do what is best for the interests of the whole, not the few CEOs and shareholders who will profit. Yours in an ideology of trade deficits and lost American jobs. Your ideology will crumble because it has been proven wrong for America.

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the rate of unemployment is an important factor in determining whether a foreign worker should be allowed to come to the United States or not, then dont you think that given India's rate of unemployment and the potential social problems from unemployed youth, it may be equally rational for India to limit the number of foreigners who can work in India? While the effect of globalization on US workers is to be taken into account, the needless demonizing of Indian and Chinese workers is problematic in your blog. Prior to 1990 (or thereabouts) there were no limits on number of H1B visas issued - the arbitrary number I agree may not have any rational relationship with the unemployment rate amongst American hi-tech workers. When the stocks of hi-tech companies were booming in the mid to late 90's, the number of workers that US could bring over from India seemed to be very small!! So what you are in maybe a legislative lock in - Congress enacts laws and does not take a look at it for many years again - sometimes decades. Thus let us say your argument is that only 10,000 H1B jobs should be given to foreigners - this figure may also appear very high to every American h-tech worker who loses a job and cant find another for sometime (assuming away the friction in the move from one job to another). Thus, unless you are advocating a complete ban on workers from other countries, given Congressional lock in (or legislative lock in) whether your angst at H1B quotas can lead to a viable policy is a legitimate question. If you think that Bangalore will be the engine for creation of jobs - then you are mistaken. The jobs are still created by needs of the US economy (to a substantial extent) in the global economy. Given the disparities in wage levels and shrinking skill differential, with respect to certain kinds of tech and BPO jobs, many of those jobs are moving abroad. If you think that there are hordes of Americans willing to relocate to India and work for $500 a month, you are mistaken. Life in India, for all the talk of India shining, is still "nasty, short and brutish". Pollution levels in Bangalore are horrendous. The water is not potable. Public transportation is non-existent. For all the talk about the number of jobs in Bangalore, remember that the total number of jobs in hi-tech in India was around 300,000 or so for most of 1990's. If I am not mistaken, the total new jobs created in US in 1990's was around 10 Million. The job market was restructured in the US, but number of new jobs created was phenomenal. The total number of foreign workers who came to US was far less than that. So, please take a more balanced view - there are some merits to your arguments - at least some of the time. But, they do not amount to a convincing argument with respect to the totality of the picture and do not seem to support the general hard line stance you seem to be evincing.


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