Durbin’s S.887, preventing companies from manipulating immigration laws to displace the US workforce, will, in effect, become America’s Jobs bill. A new public spotlight, illuminated in the upcoming discussions on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), will reveal how corporate visa programs have been sucking IT jobs away from American shores and excluding US citizens and green card holders from many of the remaining positions.
While the media portrays CIR as an amnesty bill, including Durbin’s provisions will make CIR the most significant legislation putting Americans back to work by reforming H-1b & L-1 visa programs.
Don’t ask for whom this bill tolls; it tolls for us.
An article in CIO magazine reveals why, from now on, I are renaming S.887, America's Jobs Bill:
H-1B Reform Bill Could Complicate Offshore Outsourcing
A provision of the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2009, intended to prevent companies from replacing American workers with H-1B visa holders, will make it more difficult for outsourcing vendors to place H-1B professionals at customer sites if the legislation is passed.
The bill contains an important provision, designed to prevent the displacement of American workers, that could put a serious wrinkle in the typical offshore outsourcing arrangement.
It's no surprise that IT service providers and the trade groups that represent them in Washington are working hard to have this particular provision eliminated from the legislation, as it would hamper their ability to meet their clients' needs. Outsourcing customers have come to demand that their offshore IT service providers will place some percentage of their staff at the customer's site, either to help during the early transition period or to remain for a longer time to manage workflow between the U.S. customer and the offshore delivery center. One way offshore providers meet that demand is by placing their own employees in the U.S. on H-1B visas.
Furthermore, the bill's effort to prevent American workers from being replaced by H-1B visa holders complicates American companies' outsourcing decisions, says Elizabeth Espin Stern, partner and head of the global migration practice at law firm Baker & McKenzie. Since many outsourcing deals are accompanied by layoffs at home—whether or not downsizing was part of the original outsourcing plan—outsourcing customers could be wary of providing proof to the Labor Department that they have not and will not lay off U.S. workers.
Here, I'm quoted in the article, so forgive me for tooting my own horn:
Many rank-and-file IT professionals laud the legislation. "The Durbin bill will put a stop to the outsourcing of American jobs and the discrimination against American IT professionals," says Donna Conroy, a former IT professional and director of Bright Future Jobs, a grassroots lobbying group for American IT workers. "This bill was written for us."
Each provision is important to Conroy and her group's constituents—an end to "H-1B only" job ads and caps on the total percentage of H-1B professionals on staff in a company. She adds, "But the stealth provision—preventing body shops from farming out their visa workers—will, in effect, end the despicable practice of forcing us to train our foreign replacements."
Bright Future Jobs, representing American IT professionals, is the only organization that can get this type of coverage. But we need more coverage that exposed the lie that tech companies will outsource more jobs if the Durbin bill passes.