In the past month, of the 100 or so people I work with, 15 full time jobs were cut and 10 US based contractor positions were cut — these were all folk who not only worked at the bank, they were customers of the bank with mortgages, 401Ks and bank accounts.
These workers were replaced with 20+ offshore contractors and an additional 10 visa-workers who were brought over to the US to work as US-based offshore team leaders. This fits with the strategy announced on the bank's intranet this week to "Increase our presence in India for technology development and support, while enhancing our already robust Operations functions in India." There was also an announcement the same day for a program set up to help foreign visa workers coming to the US make greater progress in their career.
All this from a bank that took bailout funds — great to see our tax dollars at work! The number of US technology jobs filled by foreign visa workers — displacing US citizens — is increasing. Over the past year over 100K technology jobs have been lost offshore or to visa holders. In fact, manufacturing is the only sector that is losing more jobs overseas than IT.
US laws were written specifically restricting the use of work visas to fill the need for skilled workers not available in the US workforce. Unfortunately, the corporations have consistently found back doors to this and use it to replace experienced, more expensive US IT talent with cheaper offshore and work-visa labor.
With our skyrocketing unemployment rate, it seems obvious that Congress should move to recover lost jobs immediately (at no taxpayer expense!) just by drastically cutting back on the amount of work visas, and providing incentives to keep jobs here instead of shipping them overseas. But how can we enact this change, in the face of the political clout the corporations hold? Is writing your congressman really going to be enough? How can we spread the word of the government's direct contribution to our unemployment rate?