Friday, March 31, 2006

More H-1b abuses - DOL approves 16,705 H-1b visas for less than $30k/year

I recently finished importing 2005 H-1b data into a database detailing the Labor Condition Application filed at the Department of Labor as required for a company to sponsor H-1b visa holders. Just to give you a primer if you haven't followed this blog, the H-1b visa is intended for "highly skilled" workers and requires that companies pay prevailing wages.

Unfortunately the DOL is merely rubber-stamping LCA applications - not verifying that the immigrants are paid prevailing wages or that they are in fact "highly skilled". In fact, the data that they collect makes it impossible to verify even if they wanted to. They don't collect specific occupation code or the experience level of applicants - both critical information when determining if prevailing wages are being paid. Unfortunately we can't blame the DOL because the law was written so that it prevents them from scritinizing applications.

To give you an example of abuses - 16,705 temporary foreign workers were approved in FY 2005 for salaries less than $30,000/yr by the Department of Labor in their LCA certification process. These workers are all deemed eligible for an H-1b visa - the visa intended to fill a "shortage" of skilled workers.

Each of these 16,705 temporary foreign workers were approved at salaries less than $30,000 per year or $15 per hour in 2005

(Funny / just sad) - LCAs Approved by the Department of Labor
Kim Chi Factory Worker
Lead African Elephan Keeper
Farm Manager of Llamas

(Not so funny) - ALL APPROVED for < $30k/yr
Title / Number Approved
Programmer Analyst - 2392
Engineer - 857
Computer Programmer Analyst - 1202
Computer Programmer - 67
Medical Technologists - 67
Network Engineer - 4
Network Administrator - 5
Programmer / Analyst - 93
Programmer Analyst / Quality Assurance Analyst - 40
Programmer - 19
Software Engineers - 102
Systems Analyst - 116
Database Administrator - 10
Electrical Engineer - 8

If you are in the IT field and have an H-1b visa this should concern you - abuse jeapordizes the program. If you are an American IT worker, this should also concern you. Abuse drives your salaries down and reduces opportunities for American workers.

This data is readily available by querying publicly available LCA data here:

If you import the data into a table, you can query it using this SQL statement and you will get many more results than shown in this blog - all paying less than $30,000 per year or $15 per hour:

select job_title, sum(nbr_immigrants)
from lca
where (wage_rate_1 < rate_per_1 =" 'Year')
or (wage_rate_1 < rate_per_1 =" 'Hour')
and approval_status = 'Certified'
Group by job_title;

  • Ask Congress to protect immigrants and American workers from companies who abuse the H-1b visa program.
  • Ask Congress to enforce the law and to stop the DOL from rubber-stamping Labor Condition Applications (LCAs).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

AP: Yahoo co-founder defends support for 'Great Firewall of China'

According to the AP: Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang defended the Internet search engine's cooperation with Chinese censorship of the Web, saying it was necessary to reach out to new users. ... "In places like China and other places that have different political regimes I think you'll see them trying to react and potentially regulate these kinds of activities. ... But our observation is that it is inevitable that things will become more open and free flowing".

I am troubled that American companies and particularly an American of Chinese ancestry would take such a position. As a democracy we should not make these types of deals with regimes that have no respect for basic freedoms and human rights. Censorship and ratting out activists to the Communist regime is just un-American. Because of the actions of Yang and other CEOs, unwilling to make a stand on this issue, there are activists in Chinese prisons. That is just shamefull.

Additionally, Yahoo and other companies should not be deciding on a strategy in dealing with these issues; our government should. American technology companies should be prevented, by law, from conspiring with the Chinese government as well as other regimes from censoring information.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tata informer provides insider documentation

As I recently reported, Tata is requiring employees to hand over their tax returns for themselves and their spouses to the company. This is a violation of a number of laws, which has resulted in a class-action lawsuit. I am hopefull that the federal government considers RICO or labor violations against the company; someone should go to prison over this abuse.

I recently was contacted by a Tata informant who provided the documentation the company requires their employees to fill out.

First, Tata requires (or required, presuming the policy has now changed) that employees sign a power of attorney when filing their tax returns. I have posted this document online (link).

Tata will use an accounting firm for this; the document I recieved via an informer includes links to this accounting firm:

DeFINO & D'ELIA (Certified Public Accountants)

I have no reason to believe the accounting firm had knowledge of this; I am sure their role will be discovered in court. For now I will presume that they did not know what was occuring as
doing otherwise could be construed as libel.

The other document that comes with this details the instructions and requirement to file power of attorney for both the employee and spouse. Quoting the pdf (link):

Power of Attorney is required to be submitted by an employee with the Company
in fevour of DeFino & D’Elia, company’s Certified Public Accountant
authorizing them to represent before IRS. The POA also helps the designated
Certified Public Accountant to attend to any queries raised by the IRS after the
return is submitted.

Power of Attorney is to be signed by the spouse. This is a must for filing the
return as "Married Filing Jointly".

The next form you should peruse are guidelines for Tata spouses (link).

It is general practice in the US that a married tax payer files tax return jointly with spouse. It is therefore preferable that Associates must file a tax return as ‘Married filing Jointly’ including Spouse’s Income.

I am posting this information for one simple reason: Tata should be shamed publicly for what they have done. I expect them to either settle or lose the lawsuit, but I don't expect the media or government to punish them for their horrible treatment of foreign guest workers. Shame on them.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Commerce Department Suppresses Offshoring Research

According to ManufacturingNews.Com, "the Commerce Department has refused to provide Democratic members of Congress with information they requested concerning a controversial report on outsourcing of jobs in the high tech sector. "

"The report's brevity as released -- 12 pages -- and the paucity of original research it contains have caused some to question the extent to which it represents the work actually carried out by the agency's analysts. The Bush administration political appointee at the Technology Administration responsible for the report has since left the department. "

Ken Jacobson, the reporter who has followed up on this story, should be commended. I only hope that the mainstream media picks up on this. The 12 page report released was more of an executive summary and according to insiders cherry picked data from the research.

This is just another example of politics driving research and not science. It is shameful that the Bush Administration would allow their appointees to continue misleading the public regarding the issue of outsourcing. If President Bush thought it was such a great practice which was good for our nation, wouldn't he want to release the facts? Unless of course the facts don't match his politics.