IBM (Indian Business Machines) Exporting Americans While Still Importing H-1bs
March 13, 2009, 05:45 PM
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Paul McDougall writes in Information Week:
The climate is warm, there's no shortage of exotic food, and the cost of living is rock bottom. That's IBM's pitch to the laid-off American workers it's offering to place in India. The catch: Wages in the country are pennies-on-the-dollar compared to U.S. salaries.

Under a program called Project Match, IBM will help workers laid off from domestic sites obtain travel and visa assistance for countries in which Big Blue has openings. Mostly that's developing markets like India, China, and Brazil.

"IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal notice on the initiative. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move."

The document states that the program is limited to "satisfactory performers who have been notified of separation from IBM U.S. or Canada and are willing to work on local terms and conditions." The latter indicates that workers will be paid according to prevailing norms in the countries to which they relocate. In many cases, that could be substantially less than what they earned in North America.

H-1b expansion was often sold as a temporary measure until US citizens could be trained. I think this shows the reality was something VERY different. If IBM is exporting Americans, why do they need any H-1b visas?

One of IBM's immigration law firms has had some troubles of their own according to Jackson West at Valleywag:

The U.S. Department of Labor and law firm Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen & Loewy, which represents clients such as IBM on immigration issues, are in a legal tussle. The department is conducting an audit of Fragomen's practices in helping clients disqualify American applicants — a necessary step before employers can obtain H-1B visas for foreign workers. Now Fragomen has fired back with a lawsuit that calls the Labor Department's rules restricting lawyers' activities unconstitutional.
Frankly, I think these folks are a little scared. They just won't be able to compete in a post H-1b America.