DOJ Slaps Wrist of H-1b Fraud Artists iGate Mastech
05/06/2008
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Rick Merritt writes at EE Times:
The U.S. government fined a consulting firm $45,000 for placing online job ads for computer programmers that said only H-1B visa holders should apply. The case is just the tip of an iceberg of H-1B abuses, according to a lobbying group that filed the original complaint.

The Department of Justice said iGate Mastech Inc. (Pittsburgh) placed 30 online job ads in May and June 2006 asking for only H-1B visa holders. The case is one of 215 the DoJ has handled involving preference for H-1B workers over U.S. citizens since the year 2000.

One of the iGate ads was for a Java programmer in the Midwest. It stated "Only H-1s Apply, and should be willing to transfer H-1B."

According to government figures from 2007 iGate Mastech employed 14 H1-B visa holders in 2007. It was one of nearly 30,000 companies employing a total of 126,219 H1-Bs last year.

First off, this is the tip of the iceberg. The H-1b program in fraudulent by its very nature. These folks just did it more blatantly than most. The value of each H-1b visa to the recipient is about $50K. The theoretic value of US citizenship is more like $300K—probably more like $225K in today's conditions and with today's expectations. In that kind of situation, with a low chance of getting caught, companies can pretty blatently risk $45K fines like this.

The real cost of the H-1b program goes beyond just the mining the citizenship rights of US technical workers. Some H-1b worker have access to extremely sensitive information-and can facilitate the export of entire US industries. Other H-1b workers can be used to facilitate huge financial frauds—as appears likely to be the case with Enron (I just don't think it is a coincidence that Enron heavily hired Indian programmers and the company made idiotic investments in India that cost shareholders $2 billion). I fully expect that every major intelligence agency in the world has some H-1b workers planted in key positions in the US. It would be nice if some of the folks in the FBI and congress wake up and actually do their jobs.

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