Your Highly Skilled Workforce

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vivek Wadhwa, senior research associate with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, discusses Indian "body shops" and a rule in the new border security bill that increases fees for H1B visas for highly skilled foreign workers.


Vivek Wadhwa

Comments [38]

Shocked from New York

How dare you give a vile racist, like Vivek Wadhwa, a platform and treat him as a respectable intellectual. His hate speech should not be spewed over the airwaves.

Sep. 21 2010 06:16 PM
True Patriot

Vivek Wadhwa is a radical anti-American outsourcing shill. He is an economic terrorist and should be deported IMMEDIATELY. His racist and radical views should not be tolerated.

Sep. 21 2010 06:13 PM
Sanych from NJ

I listened to the podcast of this broadcast.

I must say it was a very poorly produced segment.

Vivek Wadhwa is a standard shill for the industry. Having said that, I cannot say that I disagreed with this answers, because the quesitons were incorrect and because Senator Shumer's actions are very misleading.

1. The intent of the H-1B program is to replace American workers with cheaper foreign workforce.

2. Shumer's going after the "H-1B dependent employers" is ignoring and hiding the real issue - major US companies are actively employing H-1B workers. IT departments are staffed up to 90% with foreign workers. These companies are as dependent on H-1B program as Inforsys and Wipro - who specialize in IT work, and that's the reason their "dependence" on H-1Bs appear to be higher.
3. H-1B program is used to fire older "expensive" workers and replace them with younger ones, just as Smita - the Indian H-1B who was hired after college - had confirmed.
4. The way companies underpay H-1B is by placing their job in a different lower paid category. This practice is well documented in the report by John Miano of the Programmer's Guild and Vivek Wadhwa, who used to hire H-1B, himself knows this full well as his company was doing this.
5. H-1B visa was called "outsourcing visa" by Indian officials as it allows training of India workforce and movement of jobs to India.
6. Next time, WNYC should have an expert who can offer an opposing point of view - like John Miano, who lives in New Jersey, or Norm Matloff, a professor from UC Davis. Both of them could clarify many inconsistencies in Wadhwa answers, as well as duplicity of Shumer's position.

Aug. 29 2010 09:47 PM
BT1024 from USA

One other note: The indians and U.S. Corporations talk about bringing more indians here to the U.S., thinking it will create more jobs for Americans.... **Here's a good guestion: If U.S. corporations are already willing to fill open positions with H-1B's (and other visa types) and are willing to offshore so many jobs - and with wipro, infosys, and tata and the other body shops getting all of the IT jobs/contracts - **THEN WHAT will happen with all of the new jobs that the indians think they will create ? - Those new jobs (if created) filled with H-1B visa holders from india and/or offshored to india (more jobs and wealth to help them grow their country)...

It's important to also note that all of the Offshoring and H-1B (and other visa types) hiring activity isn't just affecting IT jobs, it's happening with Accounting, Legal jobs, journalism duties, clerical, customer service, and many other positions.

All of the sales pitches that the indians keep presenting, reminds me of the "huckster" at a county fair, trying to get me to spend all of my money on a game that is rigged in the favor of the "huckster" - "step right up, spend all of your money trying to knock down some milk bottles that clearly weigh more than the bean bag you are throwing at them".

Aug. 20 2010 03:01 AM
BT1024 from USA

(after listening to the audio stream/ It was hard to understand Wadwa and Smita, they both speak poorly) The same old argumement - America has a skills shortage and needs the indians to help make this country more competitive. Oh, and Vivek and Smita (whatever it's name was) claim the H-1B visa holders earn as much as their American counterpart - and that Americans get laid off because of a "skills mismatch". Why is it that in many cases, American workers have to train their H-1B replacement (and the same applies to offshoring) to perform the exact same job. So, if the H-1B worker is doing the exact same job, using the same skills, then what else is left for motive, for laying off the American worker - it's the cost, the indian thing is cheaper. I've personally spoken with 2 people that had to train their H-1B replacement (one was an IT "Server Operator" and the other was an accountant) and I've read many articles about this practice. There isn't a skills mismatch or a shortage of skilled Americans - Why are the indians telling us what we need to do - indians and even most of the one's that are citizens want the same thing - to help inda acquire all of the jobs and wealth from the U.S. so that they can continue to grow their own country, which they couldn't do on their own. On top of that, we have American corporations that are all so willing to help them, so that they will have a new marketplace to sell their products (And, it is in most cases Americans in these corporations (though many indians have now made it into management in US corps) that do this so willingly and then use the words "it's just business" or the "global economy", just so that they can make more money for themselves, the CEO's and the shareholders).

Oh, and the indians love to use the word “protectionism” - it's their favorite word when they don't get what they want.... GO (google) Look up stories about Walmart and Ikea (which pulled out and won’t enter india) trying to do business in india - india is the most “protectionist” with foreign businesses entering their country to do business!

Aug. 20 2010 02:07 AM
Rudy Torrent

Vivek promotes the exploitation of his countrymen in typical upper-caste fashion. Here's just one example of the typical H-1B lifestyle:

Aug. 19 2010 10:35 AM

H1B visas serve one purpose: to lower the wage of highly skilled American workers.

It's a comfortable conceit that American workers lack the skills. Nonsense! We created the technologies in the first place. And we all know that tech skills are constantly evolving. What companies need are employees with the ability to grasp new methods and applications quickly to ensure dynamic growth. We do not need a workforce of people living in fear of losing their visas and deportation if they ask for a raise.

Man Americans would be shocked at the number of companies operating within our borders with high numbers of H1B visa employees ( a relatively new phenomenon). It's a practice that must stop because it hurts the countries from which these workers emigrate (brain drain) as well as the present and future prospects of citizens here.

Aug. 18 2010 07:46 PM
Drunken Economist from sol3.Goaaaaaaa

Interested parties should Google the term 'fraudwa' before ascribing any real unbiased credibility to *Mr.* Wadhwa.

Also these links might be edumacational:

as well as;

as well as my own;

It's all very light reading on this fascinating showman I know as my little sahib. (Prince).

-Drunken Economist

Aug. 18 2010 03:23 PM
Phil Kalina from Virginia

Vivek Wadhwa said when tech workers lose their jobs it’s typically because of a skills mismatch. I strenuously disagree!

Technologies quickly come and go. I have hired and managed many tech workers over a long career. I learned that, as you master more and more technologies, it becomes easier to quickly get up to speed on the next one. Because of that there’s only one truly essential skill — the ability and desire to learn, adapt, and do good work.

Good workers will master new technologies quickly. If hiring managers would rely more on an applicant's record of learning and adapting, the alleged skills mismatch would dissipate in no time. Also, more employers need to abandon the stereotype that older applicants can’t, or won’t, do tech work.

Aug. 18 2010 02:24 PM
LeeNYC from NYC

Interesting that India protects workers in its own borders, see 08.10 WSJ, Is America the Only One Being Protectionist? :

"In December . . . India’s labor ministry tightened its work visa standards by barring Indian embassies from directly issuing employment visas for projects where the total number of foreign workers exceeds a certain threshold. The threshold is 1% of the total workforce or a maximum of 20 employees, whichever is higher."

Aug. 18 2010 12:39 PM
cwebba from Astoria

WNYC's system only accepted half of my list. It ended with XML. I spend a lot of time studying technologies. There is so much of it. I often speak to people who say "Oh that's too much for me to learn. I don't wanna do that." Personally, I believe that I can't afford to harbor that attitude.

Aug. 18 2010 12:12 PM
cwebba from Astoria

This is a partial list of things recruiters ask for from craigslist and linkedIn. Nowadays we have to be *willing* to own our responsibility to know or learn how to implement many or all of these things:
Agile and iterative methodologies, AJAX, Client-side sort, display and caching of list grids using Algorithms - experience developing and improving complex Recommendation, Personalization and/or Relevance Algorithms, Amazon Web Services - Amazon (migrate to Amazon), Analytics Engineer, Apache, Apache Tomcat, JBoss, APIs, Integration with Twitter, Facebook, Ning, etc, Applied analysis- design and architecture patterns, Architectural Strategy: - Solution, Definition and Features, ASP (.NET,MVC, Master Pages), AWS experience, Basecamp, SVN/CVS, other PM software, Bespoke websites (including ecommerce), Business metrics - deliver custom data sets to our research group and product management group, C++ a big plus, Clickability, Client side intelligence and query analysis, CMS - Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla and other, Cross-browser design issues, Data, Databases, Relational (MySQL, MSSQL, PostgreSQL), Database design - developing applications that work with heterogeneous data sources, extracting data, software development, Database scaling experience, - web data analysis, data mining, information retrieval, Data access UI layers – integrating both open source and/or commercial, Data mining systems, - daily maintenance, monitoring, performance analysis, trouble shooting, problem resolution, data recovery, present and future capacity planning for all of the resources required of the data mining systems being managed., Data warehouse federation environment, - working hands-on with very large data sets in a, Databases, -Consumer databases (companies like Experian, Axiom, NDCHealth, IMS, and ACNielsen), - DBA skills, Development cost activities, Direct Mail (DM), Distributed systems development environments, DTC and Internet marketing, Eclipse program, Ecommerce tools, integration with, such as payment gateways and checkout tools, Elastic Map Reduce / Jasper / Pentaho / Hadoop /, Enterprise Application\Server development, Excel, Formatting data, mail merge, Flash - ActionScript to build user interfaces and animations, Grails (, - Grails, (+ Java, JQuery, MySQL, PHP,

Aug. 18 2010 12:06 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Whoa, wait a minute. We need people to come here from other countries & start companies? I thought H1B was for employees for existing companies--does it cover people who come to the US without a job waiting, w/the idea that they'll start new companies? If so, is the idea that they'll hire Americans, rather than more H1B workers?

Aug. 18 2010 11:58 AM
Lin Young from St Petersburg

I can't believe the allegation by that Indian chemist, who is here on an H1B visa, that there is a shortage of skilled workers in the U.S.

We have millions of highly educated, unemployed Americans.

If the companies can't find skilled labor, then the U.S. government and citizens need to help those companies.

The best way to do that is to create a public government website and place all jobs currently held by H1B visa holders there, along with full job descriptions and requirements, as well as advertise all openings before a company is allowed to hire someone on an H1B visa, or renew one.

Allow Americans to file an application for both the currently filled positions and any open positions. Then post a tally of the numbers of Americans applying for those jobs.

The purpose of the H1B visa is to allow a company to bring someone from overseas to fill a job if they absolutely cannot find any American qualified for the job. We need to make sure the companies are really looking. And if a company can afford to sponsor someone from oversees, then they can use that same money to bring an American in for a job interview, and help pay relocation costs if that American lives on the other side of the country.

Let's take some steps to make sure the H1B visa program is honest.

Aug. 18 2010 11:56 AM
Mike from NYC

The skills missing are living at 60% of the living wage in the USA, rather than banking it to move back to the "old country".

US schools are the best in the world and the number of foreign students attest to this fact. US students can't afford to take $100,000 + in loans for a degree that, if they get a job, will give them only a few years employment before they are replaced by an H1-B visa holder who has no educational loans.

Aug. 18 2010 11:55 AM
Mary Beth Kooper from NYC

I know of a company that recently laid off all of their freelance local Ruby on Rails programmers, and out sourced this work to the Ukraine

Aug. 18 2010 11:54 AM
Andrew Brooks from New York City

The H1-B on the phone is lying. Between outsourcing and H1-B, the labor market for American-born programmers has been destroyed by a deliberate conspiracy between big corporations ( such as Microsoft and Wall Street) and their willing tools on Capital Hill ( such as Chuck Schumer).

It sickens me that suddenly Schumer is trying to position himself as a foe of H1-B and a friend of workers, when he has been the biggest promoter of it in the Senate.

Aug. 18 2010 11:53 AM
Ann from Brooklyn

My husband came from Australai as an IT worker in the mid1990s on an H-1 B, as a consultant. The challenge is that the visa is held by the employer -- which meansthat H visa holders cannot change jobs easily and this leaves them, to a certain extent, hostage to their employer and with little leverage in terms of salary. In my husband's case, he eventually gained a green card and, at that point, was able to go to grad school for his MBA and go out on the general market. He is still an IT exec for a European multi-national firm and he is part of a multi-national workforce.

The H visa does not only effect IT and Indian placement firms. There are scores of internaitonal graduate students who, as part of their stduent visa, can remain one year past graduation and then need an H visa. For schools, universiites, hospitals, museums and other organizaitons who may wish to hire these folks, such higher fees will be a barrier.

Aug. 18 2010 11:50 AM
Lorenzo from NY

When companies say that they "can't find talent" what they usually mean is that they are not willing to pay what they used to

Aug. 18 2010 11:49 AM
Mike from NYC

The H1-B visa situation has been documented since at least the mid-90s. Brian, you should have gotten an expert to counter this shill.

Aug. 18 2010 11:48 AM
The Truth from Becky

It's all about saving money....and not for the employee!

Aug. 18 2010 11:48 AM
Fuva from Harlem

A slew of Citigroup IT workers were replaced by imported (not 'outsourced') Indian workers who were paid much less. BOTTOM LINE (as in – for this discussion and for what's at issue with these visas)...

Aug. 18 2010 11:48 AM
Ellen from bklyn

That's completely disingenuous. My former employer hired Indian programmers, relocated here, for 1/3 to 1/2 the hourly wage of the standard hourly. They were completely incompetent too.

Oh, and... "We"? "Our"? I don't think Wadhwa's "we" is the same as my "we".

Aug. 18 2010 11:47 AM
Lorenzo from NY

Your expert is ill informed.. a LOT of H1B visa holders are unlikely to complain about lower wages and much longer hours because their ability to stay in the US is linked to their employer... it's legalized blackmailing

Aug. 18 2010 11:47 AM
JP from NJ

Globalization creates more jobs for Americans? I beg to differ and then some on that point……

Aug. 18 2010 11:47 AM

As one of the MANY skilled IT workers (especially the 'older' ones - that is anyone over 40, basically) who finds it difficult to find decent work, while most of the jobs are held by H1B visas, I take exception to the position of the guest. I do not want "protectionism" but I am disgusted that corporations actualy end up getting rewarded for not employing American workers.

Aug. 18 2010 11:46 AM
Mike from NYC

The H1-B visa situation has been documented since at least the mid-90s. Brian, you should have gotten an expert to counter this shill.

Aug. 18 2010 11:46 AM
Michelle from New Jersey

These Indian outsourcing companies have been undercutting the American worker for several years. They exploit the immigration system and labor system by coming here to the U.S. and working for below-standard wages. The work is not being done in India but right here in Manhattan. American workers are now unemployed and the taxpayer is paying to give them benefits while it is continuing to pay Indians here in New York to do these jobs. Some American companies are receiving TARP funds and other taxpayer support and hiring Indians only and not Americans.

Aug. 18 2010 11:46 AM
john from office

The same thing is happening in the legal world. We are losing jobs to india.

Aug. 18 2010 11:46 AM

How does the fact that major corporations are making most of their profits from overseas help create jobs in the USA?

Can the guest give us a scenario on how a job is created for an American when an HB-1 person comes here, or when a job is outsourced.

Aug. 18 2010 11:45 AM
john from office


I will refer you to my comments from Monday regarding the Hunter College High school. We keep reducing our standards

Aug. 18 2010 11:45 AM
Steve M from New Jersey

Its not even a matter of H1-Bs. My wife works for a major pharma company and they will be signing a contract with an outside vendor (from India) to outsource the entire IT function and lay off hundreds of IT professionals here.

Aug. 18 2010 11:43 AM

and than there's the h2 visas
Jobs Americans Don't Want?
About 66,000 migrants enter the United States legally as H2B Guest Workers each year. H2B is a visa program that gives workers access to minimum-wage, non-agricultural jobs that, employers say, would otherwise go unfilled

Aug. 18 2010 11:41 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

Vivek Wadhwa: " WAAAA WAAAA" Americans are erecting artificial barriers against us Indians who are breaking the H-1 Visa laws to steal 'American' jobs.

Aug. 18 2010 11:39 AM

Can Mr. Wadhwa explain specifically what are the skills that these Indian or Foreigner H1B workers deliver that American born computer programmers can't.

Outside of the fact that they probably work cheaper, what is the unique skill?

Americans are getting tired of their wages not moving up.

Aug. 18 2010 11:39 AM

why can't americans be trained for these jobs??
what is wrong with our schools?

Aug. 18 2010 11:37 AM
Richard Johnston from Upper west side

These firms are usually mills that prey on Indian IT professionals by getting them H-1Bs, then exploit them by billing out their services at several times the amount they are paying the "consultants," often from a boiler-room in New Jersey. They usually trap the consultant by requiring a large fee for the consultant to leave their employment and move to more conventional situations. The company often does not want to reimburse that fee, hence is content to be complict in the exploitation, and the consultant can't readily come up with $10,000 or $20,000. Their methods for obtaining the visas are often questionable.

Aug. 18 2010 10:31 AM
Chanmett from long Island city NY

H1 B Visa Issue:

The govt should raise the fees of H1 B Visa to the following companies:

1) The companies that applies for more than 100 visas on a given year.

2) Companies that operate from Abroad.

3) Companies that also utilize L1 visa.

They should not increase fees for companies that hire skilled professionals in health care industry, education and other much in demand professions.

Aug. 18 2010 10:18 AM

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