1. US H1B Visa holders not cheap labour in IT industry: US think tank

US H1B Visa holders not cheap labour in IT industry: US think tank

The $150-billion Indian IT industry is heavily dependent on H-1B visas to execute projects in the US.

By: | Bengaluru | Published: June 13, 2017 7:08 AM
tcs, h1b visa, H1B visa row, us, donald trump, us president donald trump, tata consultancy services, ratan tata The US government’s “Buy American, Hire American” policy also had the perception that 80% of H-1B employees are paid less than the median wage in their fields. (Reuters)

The perception in the IT industry that H-1B visa holders are paid lower salaries than the industry average has been disputed by a US-based think tank, National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), which has stated that wages paid to them are as good or even higher than American IT workers. The think tank has said that the median annual salary for H-1B visa holders is around $64,000 against $60,000 for US workers. For H-1B visa holders with higher degrees in computer science, the median salary can go up to $70,000, which is on par with what is paid to their US counterparts. NFAP, a reputed US-based non-profit research organisation focusing on trade and immigration, said, “The Government Accountability Office has found H-1B professionals generally earn the same or more than their US counterparts after comparing the median reported salaries of US workers and H-1B professionals in the same fields and age groups.”

This evidence goes strongly against the view held by certain US lawmakers and administration officials who say that H-1B employees are paid less than median wages.

The $150-billion Indian IT industry is heavily dependent on H-1B visas to execute projects in the US. Large IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Cognizant have come under attack from certain US lawmakers with the view that they send cheaper cost H-1B visa holders from India to the US.

The US government’s “Buy American, Hire American” policy also had the perception that 80% of H-1B employees are paid less than the median wage in their fields. According to NFAP, this view has come about due to the data available with the US department of labour (DoL). It argued that the wages listed in the DoL database typically understates an individual H-1B visa holder’s actual salary.

“This statistic is misleading as it relies on a Department of Labor database that includes multiple applications for the same individuals, since a new filing is generally required when an H-1B professional moves to a new area. That means it double or triple counts anyone who works in more than one geographic location (primarily younger workers sent to multiple offices).”

Moreover, it may not reflect what employers actually pay individual workers, but only the minimum required to be listed for government filing purposes.

Elaborating on the issue, NFAP said an employer will likely file only one labour condition application (LCA) with the DoL for a senior engineer who will work in the company’s main office. But the employer would be required to file multiple applications for a younger worker who will be moved around to different offices throughout the year. In that way, the database would be skewed toward listing fewer higher-salaried senior workers compared to younger workers — those most likely to be moved around and who make less money because they have less experience. “That is why any statistic that relies on the DoL database, such as the 80% figure cited in the background briefing, can be misleading,” it said.

The top seven India-based IT companies have seen a 37% drop in H-1B visa applications between FY15 and FY16, according to NFAP. It said this drop was due to an industry trend towards digital services such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, which require fewer workers, and a choice by companies to rely less on visas and build up their domestic workforces in the US.

  1. j
    j033l0w
    Jun 14, 2017 at 9:36 am
    Wow. The NFAP spent some serious PR coin for this fake news propaganda. If H1Bs from Infosys and Wipro aren't cheaper, why are corporations dumping proven, reliable, experienced, American workers? Corporations like that three year churn so they can only pay for three years experience max.
    Reply
    1. J
      Jo patel
      Jun 14, 2017 at 8:45 am
      It's a lie, check a senior Sap developer/ senior software engineer wages in California or Néw York city in Google and see Corporate greed is destroying America
      Reply
      1. J
        Jo patel
        Jun 14, 2017 at 8:33 am
        Whom are you trying to fool? I am an Indian American working in Software around a decade, an American software engineer with 10 years experience in New York city, California, NJ, Chicago, Virginia, MD etc will make 120,000 while H1b makes only 65,000 that's only half of ry, make law that H1b ry should be more than the ry of highest paid American citizen doing the same responsibility and in the same location, say Sap developer in California makes 200,000, so to hire an H1b should be above 250,000 and see if Companies would lay off Americans and replace them with H1b, Companies shouldn't be allowed to contract jobs without looking for eligible us Citizens and legal immigrants
        Reply
        1. v
          vikram.l
          Jun 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm
          Jo Patel Gandu Poore Khandan ko leke aaja gujrat se mdrchd, coolir karne ya sandwich bechne gaay hoga tera baap aur wahan ka citizen banke bhonk raha hai... H1B holders work there assses off for more than 12 hours a day where u guys are working only 4 hours effectively...u gave billions in drugs and arms to third world but will raise issue over H1B holder which are only .04 of american workerforce
          Reply
          1. J
            Jo patel
            Jun 15, 2017 at 1:16 am
            There are around 1.5 employer dependent visa holders in USA now including H1B, L1B etc. I agree that H1B is taking mostly only IT jobs but what would we do if Indians take all IT jobs, around 90 of IT jobs are given as contracts especially to Indian consulting companies and of which 75 of their employees are Indians, so How would we live? I did not have job for last 6 months, because each day more people are coming in and adding compe ion, Obama let H4B spouses of H1B employment status so additional 250,000 came into IT job market? How would I take care of my 3 kids, How would I live because We Americans need to be paid more so they laid us off while Companies give most of the IT jobs as contracts to foreigners for less pay ($80/hour companies give contracts to Indian consulting companies) since contract is short duration less than 6 months
            1. J
              Jo patel
              Jun 15, 2017 at 1:17 am
              There are around 1.5 million employer dependent visa holders in USA now including H1B, L1B etc. I agree that H1B is taking mostly only IT jobs but what would we do if Indians take all IT jobs, around 90 of IT jobs are given as contracts especially to Indian consulting companies and of which 75 of their employees are Indians, so How would we live? I did not have job for last 6 months, because each day more people are coming in and adding compe ion, Obama let H4B spouses of H1B employment status so additional 250,000 came into IT job market? How would I take care of my 3 kids, How would I live because We Americans need to be paid more so they laid us off while Companies give most of the IT jobs as contracts to foreigners for less pay ($80/hour companies give contracts to Indian consulting companies) since contract is short duration less than 6 months
          2. A
            an
            Jun 13, 2017 at 11:56 am
            Why are skilled Indian workers always going begging for jobs in Foreign Countries? Please try to create more good jobs in Mother India.
            Reply

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