Thursday, October 16, 2014

The H1B Visa Fraud

Upon Closer Inspection has some interesting anecdotes from Michael Teitelbaum on H1B visa fraud and the myth of a STEM shortage. From the article:

But to me the highlight of the class came when my UCD faculty colleague Phil Martin, a prominent researcher on immigration issues, showed the infamous Cohen and Grigsby video, in which a major Pittsburgh law firm showed clients how to avoid the requirement to first seek qualified Americans to fill a position before sponsoring a foreign worker for a green card.
In the video, which the firm put on the Web for marketing purposes, unaware that it would be noticed and start a controversy, one of the partners in the firm says,
And our goal is clearly, not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker. And you know in a sense that sounds funny, but it’s what we’re trying to do here. We are complying with the law fully, but ah, our objective is to get this person a green card, and get through the labor certification process. So certainly we are not going to try to find a place [at which to advertise the job] where the applicants are the most numerous. We’re going to try to find a place where we can comply with the law, and hoping, and likely, not to find qualified and interested worker applicants.
I had had no idea that Phil would show this video, but it certainly had an impact on the students, a number of whose facial expressions seemed to convey that they were profoundly shocked.  (Note by the way that the videos filmed by that law firm also showed how employers game the system to circumvent the prevailing wage requirements, which apply to both green cards and H-1B visas, and which are below market wage to begin with,)
Another notable aspect of Michael’s visit to my class was that he recalled for us how a Microsoft official had told him privately that the firm has tons of applicants, but that it rejects most of them by applying an automatic computer algorithm, with no human involvement at all.  One student was very surprised by this, and seemed to find the news a bit distressing.  Actually this is a common practice in the industry, but Michael made the important point that this information is in stark contrast to Microsoft’s testimony to Congress that qualified American applicants just don’t exist in sufficient numbers.  (See also a related incident with Dropbox.)

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