September - 2010 issue > Editor's Desk
Don't Run Away from Reality!
Christo Jacob
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It is often believed that to avoid its attacker, Ostrich bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger. The notion is 'if you can't see it, then it can't see you'. Is Obama also following the same? At a time when looming reports on gross domestic product and housing have raised fears about the fragile U.S economy either slipping back into a recession or face a lengthy period of growth that is too slow to make much of a dent in the 9.5 percent unemployment rate, Obama’s decision on H1B price hike seems to be an attempt to run away from the reality and divert the attention and to revive the support for November 2 Congressional Elections.

It is high time people realized that Obamanomics has failed and applications for H-1B work visas, not even reaching the 50 percent mark of the Congressional-mandated quota of 65,000 is a testimonial. According to the latest figures released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), only 29,700 people had applied for H-1B visas till August 13. This in stark contrast to the situation two years ago, when the cap for both the categories of H-1B visas had been touched within the first few days and USCIS had to resort to computerised draw of lots to decide who made the cut.

The Indian IT-BPO industry for years has played a crucial role in helping U.S. companies tap these benefits and remains committed to being a part of the solution to help tide over this crisis. It is imperative that the U.S. and all countries continue to be proponents of free trade. Restricted trade affects businesses, incomes and employment in other countries thus resulting in lower spending and subsequently lower demand for U.S. goods and services globally. Globally, the economy will only suffer from such protectionist attitude.

If the U.S. government wants to "stop" Indian IT services firms bringing temporary IT staff over and create an environment for fostering onshore technology employment and innovation in the country, then it must create system that is flexible. Give Indian IT-ITeS firms tax-incentives that will motivate them to hire and train U.S. IT employees and not just offshore staff. Give U.S. enterprises tax-incentives for creating new onshore IT jobs.

Moreover immigration policies should be focused on ensuring developing the talent pool in the country and not abuse. Rather than playing to the gallery, its time Obama took some serious action as U.S economy is really in a risky situation.


Please do share your thoughts with us.
Christo Jacob
Managing Editor
editor@siliconindia.com
Reader's comments(5)
1:> It is high time people realized that Obamanomics has failed and applications for H-1B work visas, not even reaching the 50 percent mark of the Congressional-mandated quota of 65,000 is a testimonial.

So, in hard times, US workers lose because few tech workers - even, god forbid, h1b workers - are being hired. In better economic times, US tech workers also lose because of increased numbers of H1B visa workers taking US jobs. Is that how it works?

> It is imperative that the U.S. and all countries continue to be proponents of free trade.

Isn\'t India complaining about a lack of free trade like al-Qaeda complaining about terrorism? Over the last several decades, India has been extremely protectionist. To this day, India is not tolerant of guest workers taking Indian jobs. Less than one year ago, weren\'t Indians out protesting in the street over a few Chinese guest workers in India? So while India largely reject guest workers in India, India also insists that other countries accept unlimited numbers of Indian guest workers? Is that fair?

> Give Indian IT-ITeS firms tax-incentives that will motivate them to hire and train U.S. IT employees and not just offshore staff.

Would it not make more sense for US firms to just hire US staff? Why do Indian staffing firms need to be in the loop? Why should a US firm go to an Indian company to hire a US citizen?

> Give U.S. enterprises tax-incentives for creating new onshore IT jobs.

1) From the prospective of a US job seeker: what good is an onshore job if that job goes to an foreign guest worker? Might as well send the job offshore, what\'s the difference?

2) As it is, US companies already pay little, or no US taxes.
http://www.ctj.org/html/corp0402.htm

3) Why should US taxpayers have to pay companies to do something that those companies should do anyway? Would it not save taxpayer money if the companies were simply not allowed to hire foreign guest workers when a US worker is available?

> Moreover immigration policies should be focused on ensuring developing the talent pool in the country and not abuse.

But abuse is the entire point of the H1B visa. Unlike other visas, the H1B specifically allows companies to hire foreign guest workers even when a local worker is available to do the job. US workers are commonly forced to train their H1B replacements. It\'s like being forced to dig your own grave before being murdered.
Posted by: walter byrd - 02nd Sep 2010
2:Correct. We Americans were the ones who created and built the software field and now we are told we are not \'able to do the job\' or \'are not good at math\' etc etc. When will people stop lying?
Valerie Chau replied to: walter byrd post - 04th Sep 2010
3:You guys are cowards, because you are censoring responses that contain no bad language whatsoever. Never mind, we can post the truth about India\'s \"contribution\" to America elsewhere.
Posted by: Bartram Simpson - 02nd Sep 2010
4:Dear Christo,
Here\'s the reality you need to face:
1. US unemployment is not 9.5%. It\'s more like 19%.
2. If H1-B visas were on the ballot tomorrow, over 80% of Americans would vote to abolish the program.
3. Last night, in the California Senate debate, Boxer trashed Carly Fiorina over outsourcing and the importation of H1-B workers. Boxer will probably going to win the election, if she can paint Fiorina with the deeply unpopular label of \"outsourcer\". Boxer is a Democrat.
4. The Republican candidate for Congress from Palo Alto has pledged to abolish the H1-B program and pursue criminal charges against the outsourcing company\'s executive on grounds of immigration fraud. So, this is a bi-partisan movement.

I don\'t care how many bribes the Indian government and its front groups have paid to American politicians. H1-B is dead, and the US-India Nuclear Weapons Deal isn\'t looking very healthy.
Posted by: Dave Chapman - 02nd Sep 2010
5:You are entirely correct!
Valerie Chau replied to: Dave Chapman post - 04th Sep 2010
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