Tech Underbelly: Indentured Servitude and Bonded Labor in the US

A labor collusion pact with the aim of suppressing pay levels among Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pixar, and others, demonstrated that the idea that Silicon Valley plays fairly is an illusion. But even more unsavory abuses occur further down the food chain. H1-B visa workers, who are generally held in low esteem in the US since they compete with Americans, take a risk when they sign up with labor brokers, even seemingly legitimate ones like Tata Consultancy, part of the giant Tata Group in India.

As the NBC video below, part of a joint investigation with the Center for Investigative Reporting, explains, the most abusive recruiters are body shops, who abuse the H1-B program by bringing in technology graduates when the firm in fact has no job lined up (hat tip EM). The Indian immigrants are hostage, kept in guest houses where they are told not to go outside until they find work.

The Center for Investigative Reporting account goes into considerable detail, yet acknowledging that most misconduct remains hidden:

From 2000 through 2013, at least $29.7 million was illegally withheld from about 4,400 tech workers here on H-1B visas, U.S. Department of Labor documents show. And this barely hints at the problem because, in the hidden world of body shops, bad actors rarely are caught.

There are two major types of abuse of Indians who come to the US through job brokers. One is the form we mentioned at the outset, and is the focus of the NBC account, that of H1-B visa fraud. Here the tech worker is brought to the US with no work lined up, a visa violation. They are thus illegal immigrants seeking work. From their story:

NBC Bay Area and CIR’s team discovered an organized system that supplies cheap labor made up of highly-educated and highly-skilled foreign workers who come to the US via H-1B visas.

Consulting firms recruit and then subcontract out skilled foreigners to major tech firms throughout the country and many in Silicon Valley.

Those who work for these third party firms that skirt the law often call them “body shops” and sometimes they get caught.

For example in August, 2014, a Cupertino man involved with one body shop pleaded guilty and was sentenced in US District Court to 19 felony counts of visa fraud where he admitted he knowingly applied for work visas for foreigners who had no job offers, filling out applications for fake jobs for a Silicon Valley tech firm.

However, some local workers say many don’t get caught. And the workers are the ones who suffer.

“It virtually makes these employees a slave,” said one worker who came from India more than a decade ago.

The second variant for the H1-B visa workers is wage theft. And if the employee tries switching jobs to escape, he find that his former employer will pursue him to collect a punitive fee for switching jobs. Note that this sort of fee is illegal in California, where many of these body shop staffers are employed. From the CIR report:

For decades, critics have sounded alarms about immigrant tech workers being treated as indentured servants by the worst of these staffing firms, known as “body shops.” In a yearlong investigation, The Center for Investigative Reporting has documented why this exploitation persists – through humiliation, intimidation and legal threats. Judgments against Indian workers sued for quitting their U.S. jobs can exceed $50,000.

The problem, of course, is that immigrant employees are hardly in a good position to use courts to defend themselves: they don’t have a lot of money, are unlikely to be able to screen US lawyers well, and would have even lower odds of success than a native if they were to try the quixotic approach of arguing their case pro se. Even ones that have managed to get good law firms to represent them against powerful recruiters have had a tough time> For instance, Tata Consultancy won a case regarding its job-quitting fees on appeal, arguing that the fact that it violated California law was irrelevant, since the contract was agreed in India. Even if so, what business do US courts have enforcing foreign-country agreements, particularly ones that seem designed to violate US laws flagrantly? By that logic, an agreement made in India to pay someone below minimum wage here would also be permissible and enforceable.

The other ugly part is that these agreements don’t necessarily contain the job-leaving fees that the brokers claim they do:

[Broker] Softech agreed to pay [Gobi] Muthuperiasamy $51,000 a year to continue improving Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation database. Instead, he changed his mind, taking a better-paying job in Ohio.

When Softech sued him in 2011 for more than $20,000, saying he had agreed to it when he signed his employment contract, Muthuperiasamy was astonished.

Muthuperiasamy was told to pay $5000 in cash to make the problem go away. He negotiated it down to $3500 and thought he had put the matter behind him. Not so:

But after [Softech owner] Kumar returned to Georgia, he claimed the transaction had never occurred. Instead, the Softech owner later would say on the witness stand that Muthuperiasamy had promised at the airport to pay $20,000.

“I said, if he does not honor the signed agreement, there is no other option than going through the legal process,” Kumar told the jury. “Then he agreed to pay the liquidated damages within one week’s time.”

Kumar sent letters threatening to sue, according to trial exhibits. And in August 2011, he followed through on that threat with a claim for $20,000 plus attorney fees in the Gwinnett County court – 17 miles from Softech’s headquarters in Norcross and 575 miles from Muthuperiasamy’s home in Ohio….

At the defense table, Muthuperiasamy sat beside his attorney, Ted Lackland, a former assistant U.S. attorney. Privately, Muthuperiasamy worried about whether Lackland was up to the task: Previously, he had represented three of Softech’s employees – and lost.

Just as worrisome was the diminutive figure at the plaintiff’s table next to Kumar. Past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Georgia, attorney Roy Banerjee has a penchant for wearing bow ties and representing body shops. He has prevailed in many cases against Indian immigrant programmers, winning judgments or settlements from some, while others fled back to India..

Banerjee’s case was based on a simple premise: Muthuperiasamy had pledged to pay $20,000 if he left Softech before a year was up. The employee quit after a couple of days, so he owed $20,000….

At trial, Lackland avoided the complex question of whether the $20,000 penalty violated H-1B immigration laws. Instead, he told the jury that there was never any agreement to pay $20,000.

As proof, Lackland recruited an expert witness to assess the Softech contract attached to an email sent to Muthuperiasamy by the company. The document didn’t call for a $20,000 payment, and the expert testified that no one had tampered with it.

“If you find there is no contract, there is no meeting of the minds, there is no mutual agreement,” Lackland said.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of Muthuperiasamy in two hours.

His case is far from the only example in this story and it’s one of the very few that turns out well.

The article describes how, despite having formal policies against companies that use bonded labor and engage in wage theft, yet is a heavy user of services from WiPro, which has documented cases of engaging in that type of abuse.

If you think these problems apply only to immigrant workers, think again. US firms are trying to apply the bonding model:

Concept Software & Services Inc., an Atlanta-area body shop, makes potential workers sign up for training as a condition of employment.

During the depths of the recession, Concept advertised a training program for software developers. Participants were trained for four months and paid $500 per month. Once trained, they were to be contracted out to other companies. The catch: If the workers quit before 12 months, they owed the company $9,800, according to court filings.

But four workers interviewed quit before receiving postings. They said the training was bogus and the promise of work specious. They described the $9,800 “balance due” as a technique to keep them in reserve until contracts for technology work emerged.

Concept also used other techniques common in the H-1B world, they said, including exaggerating workers’ technical skills and experience to drum up business.

“They basically told us they were going to be falsifying our résumés,” said former employee Reuben Otero, now 29, who left the company in February 2012 after three months. “They said, ‘This is how the world works. Everybody does it. This is how you get in the front door.’ ”

Otero and his co-workers balked but were required by an arbitrator to pay up. Otero’s bill for training, arbitration fees and attorney fees came to $29,000, he said. The workers sued in federal court for underpayment of wages but lost.

Ravindra Bhave, Concept’s president, acknowledged that he instructs programmers to send padded résumés to potential clients. But he says his workers are so well trained that clients still are getting a good deal….

Canvas InfoTech Inc., a Fremont, California, labor broker that boasts of providing workers to Google Inc. and eBay Inc., has filed at least seven lawsuits since 2011 demanding payment from workers who quit.

Deepti Garg of Hayward, California, said she had good reason to leave.

“They made me forge my résumé and made me apply and interview for positions that were much higher-level than my skill set,” she said. “It’s a total fraud.”

A U.S. citizen originally from India, Garg enrolled in a six-week training and job placement program with Canvas in April 2011, hoping to get a better job to help provide for her two children. After paying Canvas $1,000 and signing a one-year contract, Garg decided the program was a dead end.

She rejoiced when she found a software-testing job that September – on her own. Canvas officials hit back, filing a lawsuit claiming she owed them $10,000 because she had left before completing her contract…

Eager to focus on her career and family, Garg, 34, said she settled the suit with Canvas last year, though she could not recall the precise sum.

“It was the most depressing thing of my life,” she said.

So far, these abuses are largely confined to minority groups and thus aren’t perceived as a mainstream labor threat. But the fact that these brokers are getting away with it and are expanding their reach says there’s the potential for them to do a lot more damage, particularly if the job market continues to remain soft. In other words, don’t assume that this problem will remain in the Indian software worker ghetto. This could be part of your future if the public doesn’t demand a stop to it, for their protection as well as that of immigrant workers.

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  1. washunate

    Fascinating read. The problem of slavery specifically and horrific working conditions more generally is one of the most under appreciated aspects of discussing jobs and employment and so forth. Taking people’s passports or otherwise making life difficult for a foreign national is one of the most common forms of enslavement in the world today, from the tech industry to the sex trade to domestic work to construction to agriculture.

    It’s not enough to give everybody a job. We have to create meaningful employment, from the work authorization status itself and the political rights of workers in the country where the job is located to the compensation package to the working conditions and say in decision-making within the workplace.

    Otherwise, job programs, no matter how well-intentioned initially, tend to end up being just another word for indentured servitude.

    1. jrs

      And then there’s all the I.T. work you’d need a security clearance to do. No not all a certain acronym, there’s actually a massive amount of I.T. work requiring a security clearance in D.C. (less so in Silicon valley, not that they aren’t in with the surveillance state ultimately, but not so much on requiring the clearance as the jobs in D.C.).

  2. curlydan

    It’s great that these practices are starting to get some attention.

    The perception that it isn’t a mainstream labor threat is correct. H1-Bs are often tied to the idea of bringing in highly qualified immigrants…a supposed boon for the country. But the reality for many former well paid tech workers is that it is a threat and one of the main reasons they are now in crappier jobs, usually out of the tech field. Too many skilled IT workers were displaced by low-cost H1-Bs, booting people out of middle class jobs.

    1. fledermaus

      But there’s a STEM shortage, dontyaknow. So we must continue to make these jobs even crappier with less pay. Then American students will flock to STEM.

      As an anecdotal aside, I was taking to a friend with a bio-chem undergrad degree, he and most of the people in his area make between $15-20/hr with few benefits. Even those who went on to get a master’s still are lucky to pull down 60K a year for long hours.

  3. Arthur Wilke

    In addition to the immigrant-native born pay differential in the hi-tech and related sector, sexism also is manifested in the labor practices of these and associated industries as highlighted in September 2014 article in WIRED (

    Contributing to the differential success of women in hi-tech was a shift in the differential access to computers to male and female children (

    However, among the hi-tech derivatives, the gaming industry, one that some feminist critics have scored as misogynist, there’s been extreme manifestations of overt sexism (see

    While there are imaginative, sometimes economically efficient producing applications from hi-tech industries, like many business activities there appear to be numerous socio-economic externalities of an archaic kind.

    1. hunkerdown

      Gamergate is simply an attempt to neoliberalize IT and replace all the disobedient aspies with careerists. Leave identity politics out of this.

  4. Bhangi

    First, a minor editorial comment — it is H-1B and not HB1.

    There’s a very simple fix for the H-1B abuse issue — only allow first party sponsors. An H-1B holder can only work for the sponsor as a fulltime employee at one of the company locations. Categorically exclude consulting and contracting companies from being able to sponsor candidates — though this will be difficult to enforce (a solution might be to raise the fees even more to fund inspectors). Finally, limit the maximum number of H-1B visas that a single company can sponsor — wholly owned subsidiaries do not count as separate companies. To prevent abuse by first party sponsors, make sure that the H-1B holder is not bound to one employer or the other as long as the above conditions are met.

    1. hunkerdown

      If notifying health insurers about “life events” is fair game, then why not do the same with H-1Bs? Tie the visa to a particular job site and make violations a strict liability crime. If the guest worker isn’t there, then some suit gets led away in handcuffs, period.

    2. ds

      The ‘fees’ for the H1b is a joke, about 2000 dollars for a several year visa. It was the same price when I first discovered the cost in 2003. Basically, the fee is so low that it is no longer a negative consideration for a company to decide whether to higher domestically or forego the domestic market entirely and traffic in indentured servants.
      Back in 2003, it seemed that most H1b were being herded into IT, academia, hard sciences, and engineering. Now I meet foreigners in mundane MBA work, allied health care and even school teaching… In fact, I have seen foreign nationals get a job over their domestic fellow students because of the indentured servant aspect. Their companies exclusively targeted foreigners for work. They said, “The Mid-West is too unpopular for young workers”, etc.

  5. Peppsi

    There’s no need for these workers. They exist entirely to pull down wages. The entire h-1b program should be scrapped. It’s an absurdity.

    1. Working Class Nero

      Seems like a no-brainer but it is also true on all levels of cheap labor immigration. The farm workers got hit in the late-sixties, early seventies. The working classes starting getting hit in the mid-eighties. In the 2000’s they started going after the middle class. Teachers have the same problems as tech workers, there have been more than 60,000 H1-B visas issued to low-wage foreigners since 2000. And they have the same human trafficking issues:

      The supporters of mass third world immigration are little better than slave traders but somehow it is the opponents of cheap labor immigration who get branded as racists.

      1. jrs

        Not just tech, I was surprised when I learned how widespread bringing in skilled workers is in fields like accounting. Now a programming language isn’t heavily dependent on a human language, but people in other countries actually study the rules for American accounting standards that don’t even apply in their countries just to get jobs here.

        1. RUKidding

          Bigger law firms, especially the global firms, outsource lots of their work to third world countries, including legal work requiring a law degree. Also for paralegal work, administrative and accounting work. Smart workers in third world countries speak/write/know English well and probably get a degree in the USA or UK. Then work for pennies on the dollar in their home nations.

          I’ve noticed something else but anecdotally. I happen to have some ties into several Indian (India) communities in CA. US citizens are under the wrong-headed impression that “everyone” wants to live here. Well, not so much these days. For ex, I know quite a few Indians who, while they want to work in the USA for a while, most definitely plan (and do) to return to the Indian subcontinent for the long haul. Why? Mainly because they live a much better lifestyle there than they can here. They can have servants, plus own a very nice house or condo; have a driver and a good car; plus the overall cost of living is cheap. AND it’s their culture & their extended families are there.

          If they can get hired in India to do work for American companies (whatever type of work), what’s not to like? They typically get paid better for working for Americans or Europeans than they do working for an Indian company (not true in all cases but close). Ergo: it’s a two-fer. The Indian workers get better pay while driving down wages in the USA.

          Driving down wages in the USA *may* be necessary to balance lifestyles and wages globally. But the issue is that the cost of living in the USA has NOT gone down; rather it’s gone up while our wages/salaries/benefits are stagnant at best or have been massively cut at worst.

          1. jrs

            Cost of living is high because specific industries are very specifically propped up while most working people’s wages are thrown without pity or protectionism on the global marketplace. Housing prices were propped up (is there any doubt, after all the mark to market, all the money infusions, all the withheld inventory and price fixing). Medical costs are propped up (or we’d have re-importation of drugs etc.). Basic costs of living. Low cost of living and low wages is a 3rd world model I guess, what the heck model this is I don’t know. Not actually a 1st world country anymore but what is it?

            I don’t know that all immigrants like it here, I’ve heard some like it because traffic is better (India has really extreme, make major U.S. urban congestion look like nothing, traffic congestion I guess).

            1. jrs

              The rich (top I don’t know 10%?) being able to dominate the market could also drive up costs far beyond averge wages, though it’s not all that’s going on.

  6. Ed

    Michael Church has been blogging about how crappy the workplace culture in Silicon Valley has been getting lately. I commented that the practices he is complaining about are standard modern American labor practices, and what happened is that tech was different during its growth phase, but now as a mature industry its falling in line with the others.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I especially like the idea start-up wannabe founders living in dorms and being paid virtually nothing, which is in fact true, while they audition before Venture Capitalists for their “big break.” I’m only surprised there are are no stories of the casting couch; perhaps some will emerge…

      1. hunkerdown

        Anecodotes of overtures thereto, and one investor did get his (I vaguely remember Eastern European of some flavor) name all over the startup blogs for a minute but I can’t trace down the link.

        Whether the problem has been nipped in the bud by one strong stand is another question. Whether solving this problem as NOW would have it is merely an attempt at creating a hostile, beige work environment for individuals in general is another question entirely.

  7. jrs

    “Ravindra Bhave, Concept’s president, acknowledged that he instructs programmers to send padded résumés to potential clients. But he says his workers are so well trained that clients still are getting a good deal….”

    Fricken BS. So would they get for hiring the Americans they DON”T HIRE if they are honest on their resumes! How can you even compare some padded resume with an honest one that sure states things positively of course, but that is still basically honest. It’s an apples to oranges comparison. Oh and they might demand a living wage … and aren’t bound to the company, anymore than the company is bound to them.

    There’s lots and lots of qualified people out there, if one is honest more qualified people than jobs. Everyone knows that if they padded their resume with a bunch of untrue exact fit things for whatever purple squirrel they are looking for today that sure they might get in easier and OF COURSE they could do the job. If only employers could see that they could do the job without the need to lie because they had done similar if not identical work in the past.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I have done a lot of technical interviews for IT positions. I consider that one of the goals (possibly the main goal) of the tech interview is to determine whether the candidate’s resume is honest and accurate. It’s generally easy to tell with a suitably trained interviewer and a technically-focused interview. However not all companies do that as part of their recruitment process – chances are that the body shop in question would just cross us off the list as soon as they heard we did tech interviews.

      Sometimes you don’t even need the interview. I’ve seen numerous resumes where I’ve suspected the candidate of padding. Normally I just make a mental list of claims to examine in the tech interview if we decide to proceed, but now and then I’m familiar with one of the clients or projects in their employment history and I’m able to compare their claims against my personal experience. Generally the resume entry turns out to be a wild flight of fiction by comparison.

      The claim about falsification being common practice is absolutely counter to my experience. Padded resumes reflect badly on the contracting agency (for reasons that are well covered in the article) and so the best of them will usually exercise some quality control of their own. It sounds like the body shops don’t care about reputation because their primary source of revenue is the candidates themselves – if they occasionally find an employer with a sub-par interview process and can slip someone past it for a placement fee, then that’s a bonus.

      I am saddened but not surprised by this article. In general, the work-based immigration category for tech workers could use some thought and investment on the part of US citizens and government rather than letting big companies write the rules. Immigration should be limited to areas where there is a genuine shortage, should be made less costly and time-consuming, and should be considered as a path to citizenship rather than a temporary work program of a type that is commonly abused (look at Apartheid-era South Africa for another example). Either don’t let them in at all or be prepared to treat them as potential US citizens with all the ensuing rights and protections. The middle ground we currently have serves nobody’s interests except for exploitative employers.

      1. hunkerdown

        Either don’t let them in at all or be prepared to treat them as potential US citizens with all the ensuing rights and protections. The middle ground we currently have serves nobody’s interests except for exploitative employers.

        But but, all those “trade” agreements guarantee free movement of capital, and that includes livestock!

  8. Vatch

    Thanks for this article. I have a minor quibble: It’s not the “HB1” visa that causes problems. It’s the “H-1B” visa. It’s easy to type it wrong, and I often have to look it up to be sure that I get the hyphen in the correct place.

  9. kevinearick

    Mythology: Origins, Fairy Tales & Other Such Nonsense

    On one side, we have less capable squatters that read a fairy tale in school and are upset that more capable squatters, a Jewish sect that dedicated its breeding line to divide and conquer banking mythology, stole its fairy tale, before they were born.

    On the other, we have squatters who submit to herd anxiety, but argue that if they are just allowed to redistribute the remainders equitably, all will be well. Both depend upon public education and law enforcement, to inflate their possessions, and complain about the lost purchasing power to those so disenfranchised.

    And you are supposed to vote, on how much time in the future you are supposed to waste, on ever-growing crisis bonds, while they consume the remaining seeds of production, with increasingly myopic extortion.

    Did I miss something? You didn’t notice Benjamin Franklin in that patent office, stealing 5000-yr-old ideas, or the French secretaries disposing of Napoleon when he became inconvenient? Did I miss anyone worthy of excoriation?

    You are much better off dealing directly with the moneychangers, who fully intend to breed you out, than the mealy-mouthed neo-capitalists and neo-socialists serving themselves as gatekeepers in the middle. Let them wage war on their own time, and with their own children.

    One grower’s bushel is not the same as another, because each bundles differently, and the only free markets are the ones you choose to create, by discounting the empire noise of equality.

    You can see why the political majority votes me off its shrinking island, every time. If you are looking for the people-are-beautiful-and-wonderfully-made speech, my wife is the one thrilled with automation crap, but smart enough not to depend upon it. You might want to pay her, or not. I get called to fix the crap, after the façade of mercy reinforcing addiction has already crumbled.

    Empire money is just so much toilet paper to me, and my children are grown, gone, and making their own decisions, which is precisely the Fed’s problem; it’s a paper tiger of, by and for paper tigers.

    Those bankers don’t load up on gold and other artifacts by accident. Hitler was just another fool in a long line of fools, expecting the bankers to run out of scapegoats before his position was reached. That American bankers would throw the American middle class under the bus is ironic, not unexpected. How’s that illusion of freedom, to identify other scapegoats with gossip, to feed fascism, working now?

    Yes, the empire is a slippery slope, of lies begetting lies, and ‘great’ leaders lining their pockets with manure, money always whistling past its own grave. An empire in hysteresis is no cause for anxiety on your part; it’s always a damsel in distress sh-show.

    Peer pressure is fascism, and the participants are always surprised when there is no one left to blame but themselves, just before the system blows up in their face and their great leaders are on a ranch in Montana somewhere. CEOs are paid scapegoats, and Challenger was just a warning. That’s what consulting is all about.

    Without privacy, there is no economy. Focus on the system producing the individual outcomes in question. The idea that somebody else, let alone a peer group, gives you freedom is nonsense. Only your own can open that private door. Civil law, MAD insurance, is just the collector.

    A conspiracy of stupidity is no substitute for privacy. If you think, you are a bootable operating system and antennae, and it doesn’t matter what the critters steal because all their work ends up in the landfill. Navy isn’t about weapons in a game for juveniles.

    Just make everything you touch a little better than you found it, and resources will find their way to you. Be the needle, and let the fools sift through hay.

  10. Globus Pallidus XI

    Well said. I have only a couple of minor quibbles.

    1. The issue is NOT immigrants. That’s a misleading statement that has been pushed by the oligarchs, to play divide and conquer amongst the US population. We should not fall into the trap. The issue is foreign nationals.

    2. American citizens and permanent residents do not have a stake in preventing abuses of foreign workers. Making it easier for foreign workers to come here and take jobs will hurt the average American, not help. The American interest is that foreign workers not be allowed to come here, period.

    Remember, what is driving down the wages of Indians is not that they are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous outsourcers. What is driving down the wages of Indians is that there are a billion of them all desperately competing for any sort of work. Abusive outsourcers simply come with the territory of a flooded labor market. Protecting the ‘rights’ of foreign nationals to come to America is what will destroy the rights of American workers, count on that.

    1. jrs

      Yea my thoughts on:
      “This could be part of your future if the public doesn’t demand a stop to it, for their protection as well as that of immigrant workers”

      Is that if you asked the public they’d probably demand a stop not to the lousy treatment of immigrant workers but to immigrant workers period (or foreign nationals, most people’s issues aren’t with those who have attained citizenship).

      Not that I believe any workers (or human beings) should be treated so shabbily, but the only theory I’m aware of that fully wanted, and of course in practice often didn’t, solve the problem of capitalist global wage arbitrage, without protectionism, was kind of big on workers of the world uniting.

      I really think lousy treatment of workers is perfectly correlated with lack of bargaining power for workers and will almost inevitably follow this regardless of laws (it’s why low wage workers are not only paid less but are usually treated worse than higher paid workers – it’s not justice, it’s bargaining power).

    2. DJF

      What Oligarchs are in favor of restricting immigration?

      Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffett, Soros, Koch brothers? They are all pushing to increase mass immigration.

  11. reslez

    After torture was brought back into fashion I frequently wondered how long it would take for slavery / indentured servitude to make its return. Of course, neither were ever absent from the world, but they were considered beyond the pale here in the U.S. We fought our only civil war over race-based slavery. To find judges and juries routinely finding for such anti-competitive, anti-worker, and anti-human practices makes me feel disappointed in my fellow citizens. There is a difference between law and justice, and one expects each of these jurors and judges to feel the backhand of the law someday themselves. I assume it helps that most of these workers are foreign-born, but that just ties it to our shameful racial history all the more tightly.

    1. ds

      Speaking of the devil, Gonzalez has been hired for another scam, Belmont University’s (TN) law school! He’s on the faculty!

  12. Phil

    I feel sorry for these workers, but the slant taken in the video fails to get at the root of why this happens, in the first place. American corporations, their lobbyists, and hand-always-out legislators have made the H1B scam possible.

    Add to that extreme corruption in India, which should be educating its poor and providing job opportunities. Indian officials have recently pressured American legislators to increase H1B quotas, so as to remove pressure coming from very frustrated, newly-educated Indian IP workers. It’s a perfect combination -corrupt American leaders and corrupt Indian leaders, using labor as cannon fodder to cement or protect their power.

    Walk into a place like GE’s new “Global Software Center” in San Ramon, about 30 minutes from Silicon Valley; they have about 400 people working there – over 90% of them are from India, with a healthy dose of H1-Bs.

    MSFT, Google, hp, etc all claim to need STEM workers, but they’re all *laying off* STEM workers! The H1B scam is about manipulating the labor market; these corrupt corporate and legislative goons (with the help of corrupt consulting companies, greedy immigration attorneys, etc) want to reduce the cost of labor in order to increase profit. It’s as simple as that.

    There is ample evidence that there is NO shortage of STEM workers in America! Read on:
    Unemployment is a problem in America, and so are our sticky problems with immigration. Undercover of helping those immigrants who have so long labored in our agricultural sector, the American IT sector has seen fit to use the sentiment to help agricultural workers to create a Landslide of advantage for itself.

    The H-1B fiasco has cost Americans **$10TRILLION** dollars, since 1975. For anyone who wants to know the truth, read on.

    One of the most respected technology pundits in Silicon Valley has this to say about the H1-B worker problem

    Here’s an attorney and his consultants teaching corporations how to manipulate foreign-worker immigration law to replace qualified American workers:

    H1-B abuse if accompanied by other worker-visa abuse L-1 Visa (H1-B’s are only the tip of the iceberg). There are more than 20 categories of foreign worker visas.

    Professor Norman Matloff’s extremely well documented studies on this problem.

    Federal offshoring of website

    How H1-B visa abuse is hurting American tech workers

    There is no stem worker crisis in America

    Marc Zuckerberg and wealthy tech scions continue to perpetuate this trend


    Also, little known is the tactic of creating many different kinds of sub-visa categories to “fool the system”. There are almost TWENTY different kinds of work visas. The whole thing is a sham and a lie, designed to drag down wages and keep from having to re-train Americans. Never thought I would see this day!

    Some of the information presented in the following links will shock most Americans, because American corporate leaders don’t want us to know the truth, and they are paying off policy makers with contributions to keep the truth from us. Bill Gates, John Chambers, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, and many, many others – including the principals of the most prominent immigration law firms, who profit from this outrage, are lying through their teeth. There is NO shortage of STEM workers in the US!!

  13. Vj

    Even more than a decade ago the colloquial term used often in a self deprecating manner by the industry folks in Bangalore to refer to doyens of their industry (“body shopping”) was cyber coolie. It applied to both body shopped exported temp workers and to the then nascent off shore knowledge process offshore and call center people.
    I first heard this term while visiting a software entrepreneur CEO at his office in Bangalore.
    Yes there was and probably is rampant exploitation but in those days it was not such a handicap to get eager beavers to sign on apparently as they had all too often heard of the even more exploitative work environments in the Middle east where a lot of their non-computer tech skill predecessors went if they wanted better than local wages. The circumstances of two-three generations was effectively thrown under the bus as post independence India tried to quickly adjust to world economic realities handicapped by the giant hole left by colonial occupation and extraction. (She had gone from the second largest GDP area and having the lions share of world trade to penury in 200 years).
    Post Independence the rupee went from 3RS per $ to Rs65 today with a crushing effect on the purchasing power of almost everyone. Of course over regulation etc did not help. So effectively 2-3 generations bore the brunt of the adjustments with absolutely no social safety net work barring family.
    Hopefully as India generates more opportunities and also as the employees who do get exposure to the west get more demanding things will get better.
    When now hear talk of letting currency depreciation as a solution for the current problems in the west I often get the feeling that those prescribing this should look at what it’s ramification elsewhere have been.Be careful what you wish for.
    Even repression by keeping real interest rates low has a similar effect of impoverishing the seemingly well off middle and upper middle classes over time. But that is another story.
    Sticking to the topic -My point is that the labor arbitrage opportunity results as a consequence of purchasing power erosion via currency differentials and regulating this excessively creates opportunities for exploitation of the immigrant worker.

  14. Communal

    1. Impose tax on company revenues, not profits.
    2. Income tax is imposed on your salary, not savings.
    3. Put A Cap On Market Capitalization Of NYSE/NASDAQ Listed Companies.

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