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Readers rant about IT worker who trained H1-B replacement

Patrick Thibodeau | June 18, 2014
Readers question the need for the H-1B program; we answer some questions about the visa.

Her letter to Sen Rubio said in part: "I hope you experience the same kind of long-term gut-wrenching poverty and discrimination I am experiencing in the job market because of your corruption."

Rubio wrote back, in part: "As a United States Senator, I will keep your ideas and views in mind while working to promote principles and policies to benefit Floridians and Americans alike."

The Florida woman's frustration, and Rubio's boilerplate response, says something about the political disconnect on this issue. Rubio supports the increase in the H-1B cap included in the Senate immigration bill, with the belief there's a tech skills shortage in the U.S. "You can't grow the middle class if people do not have the skills to get hired for these jobs," said Rubio in 2012.

Rubio is hardly alone in supporting the need for H-1B visas. The Senate immigration bill would more than double the current visa cap. There is significant support from lawmakers in both parties for hiking the cap.

The H-1B visa is rarely raised by candidates in political campaigns There is little evidence that support for the visa hurts at the polls, though David Brat's Virginia primary victory over U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, may be an exception. Brat, an economics professor, focused his attacks on Cantor's stands on immigration issues, including the H-1B visa program.

Four: "This is nothing new. Your article is laughably behind the times." Cletus.

Cletus is correct. The H-1B visa turns 25 next year. The growth of offshore outsourcing as a threat to U.S. IT jobs began in earnest in the late 1990s.

H-1B visa use by IT services companies continues to grow, and visa holders are increasingly used for state and federal government work. A U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services inspector general recently reported that 11 state Medicaid agencies allow offshore outsourcing of administrative functions. H-1B visa workers are being used in government funded health care programs.

Meanwhile, offshore outsourcing firms continue to grow. Cognizant, a U.S.-based IT services firm, a large user of H-1B visas, reported that its revenue in 2013 grew to $8.84 billion, up more than 20% from 2012.

As long as people are forced to leave their jobs and train their visa holding replacements, such as A.B., the H-1B visa will remain one of the biggest stories in tech.


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