L-1 Visas: H-1B’s Quiet, Powerful, And Even More Evil Cousin…

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Layed Off American IT Workers – Victims of L-1 and H-1B Visa Scam.

You’re probably familiar with H-1B visas and the annual cap on them. Their lesser-discussed cousin, the L-1, has no such yearly limit.

American workers may be encouraged by a slowly dipping unemployment rate, but in the IT field, both novices and veterans voice continued frustration about competing for jobs with foreign workers holding H-1B or L1 visas.

Advances in technology and globalization, as well as work-visa laws, during the past decade have made it posssible for companies to hire foreign IT workers and pay them less than they would an American worker.

Now, pundits and lobbyists calling for work visa reform worry that President Obama, faced with a Republican Congress, will expand visa programs as he considers taking executive action on immigration laws.

[Tech employers say good people are hard to find. Job hunters see a broken hiring process. Read The IT Talent Shortage Debate.]

In a blog post published on The Hill, Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at Washington think tank the Economic Policy Institute, says that under-regulated visa programs like the L-1, while appealing to businesses, only end up exploiting low-paid foreign IT workers and shrinking wages for everyone employed in similar roles.

“Employers have a huge financial incentive to hire an L-1 worker instead of an American or an H-1B, and no law requires them to be audited or investigated,” Costa wrote. “That’s why the tech industry has lobbied the Obama administration for years to expand the definition of L-1B ‘specialized knowledge,’ which would allow them to bring in countless more underpaid L-1 workers.”…

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