H1-B follies


No one in their right mind could possibly believe we don’t have enough laid-off Americans to fill these jobs.

The White House has established a $100 million program that endorses fast-track, boot camp IT training efforts and other four-year degree alternatives. But this plan is drawing criticism because of the underlying message it sends in the H-1B battle.

The federal program, called TechHire, will get its money from H-1B visa fees, and the major users of this visa are IT services firms that outsource jobs.

Southern California Edison, for instance, is in the final phase of cutting 500 IT jobs as it shifts work to two India-based offshore providers. Many of the IT workers at the utility have had to train their visa-holding replacements.

Another source of controversy will be the White House’s assertion that there are 545,000 unfilled IT jobs. It has not explained how it arrived at this number, but the estimate will likely be used as a talking point by lawmakers seeking to raise the H-1B cap.