Seven lawsuits have been lodged claiming that IT staffing companies prefer H-1B guest workers from South Asia over qualified American workers. Bloomberg Law reported that if the courts rule the companies used H-1B visas in violation of anti-discrimination laws, they could be forced to “change their long-standing hiring and business models. If there aren’t enough U.S. workers to take the place of H-1B visa holders, as the companies say, that could force them out of business.” The companies are Tata Consultancy, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, Virtua, Mahindra and HCL.
Tata Consultancy, the second largest H-1B user, acquired 14,697 H-1B workers in fiscal year 2017 while hiring only 3,000 American workers. Daniel Kotchen of Kotchen & Low says the case against Tata shows a “straightforward pattern and practice of discrimination that violates federal discrimination laws….[Tata] has a corporate preference to predominantly staff U.S. positions with South Asians, including visa holders from India…[so Americans are fired at] strikingly disproportionate rates.”
So far the judge overseeing the Tata case denied a motion to dismiss and allowed it to continue as a class action. The judge also denied Tata’s motion to restrict the remedy to monetary damages so Tata could be forced to change its hiring and employment practices.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Allen Orr told Bloomberg Law that overseas staffing companies have acquired much of the IT work outsourced by U.S. companies. He said a ruling of discrimination could put them companies out of business, but H-1B workers would still dominate the IT industry because they would just be hired directly.
Sara Blackwell, who sued Disney on behalf of former tech workers, said these lawsuits could “open the doors for a lot of these American workers.” She said the problem American workers face won’t be fixed, however, unless the hiring business model is changed. Congress must change H-1B laws in order to help American workers.
Read more at Bloomberg Law.