Sunday, February 1, 2009


It used to be that companies in the U.S. sought H-1B visas (which allows temporary employment of foreign workers) when they had specialized needs that only a foreigner could address. Whether the need was tied to a specific skill or a language didn't matter. The goal behind securing an H-1B visa was to fill a gap that U.S. workers could not. This is no longer the case. The Associated Press is reporting:

The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721 ...
I find it difficult to believe that banks can't find corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts, or human resource specialists in this country. But here's the money quote from the AP report ...

During the last three months of 2008, the largest banks that received taxpayer loans announced more than 100,000 layoffs ... Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.
I'm not even going to speculate here. Let's be blunt. By lowering costs the guys at the top can also pay themselves more bonus money. They also get a more pliant and servile workforce too. Just the threat of having your job handed to an "H-1B" is good enough to induce conformity. It's that simple.

They may not realize it just yet, but it appears that white collar executives could benefit from the assistance of organized labor. Or do we just let "the market" work it's magic?

- Mark

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