Shedding Some Light on the Serious H1B Visa Program Issue

60 Minutes recently ran a story on the H1B Visa program that showed the impossible situation many American workers found themselves in when they were told to train their own replacements. These workers from foreign countries were a part of the H1B Visa program, which is intended to save taxpayers millions of dollars through outsourcing, but the alleged long-term benefits for taxpayers are of no comfort to those who are facing the loss of their jobs.

American workers interviewed about the situation were still having trouble “wrapping their minds” around actually being forced to train someone to take their own position; their livelihood. Workers agreed with interviewers that the situation feels like being forced to dig their own grave…and then get in it.

Robert Harrison, one of the workers interviewed regarding the situation, is an engineer previously employed by UCSF Medical. Harrison was fired along with 80 of his co-workers recently when their jobs were outsourced to India. Before leaving his position, Harrison, like his coworkers, was forced to train his own replacement. The situation left Harrison, and many American workers in similar situations, outraged and angry. Harrison had to sit next to the worker chosen to replace him in his position at UCSF Medical - wishing the entire time that he wasn’t being forced to work with his own replacement sitting next to him “shadowing” him and attempting to learn all that he knows in order to step into Harrison’s place at the company. Yet doing so was the only way to ensure that he would receive pay through February 2017 as well as a promised bonus. Making the full pay contingent upon fulfilling obligations to train replacements left Harrison, and many like him, with his hands tied. 

Representation for hundreds of workers who have been fired from their jobs in favor of foreign workers with H1B Visas stated emphatically that the situation should offend everyone. She insists that no one should be told that they are losing their job because they are being replaced by cheap, foreign labor. It is an insult to each and every worker being forced to train their own replacements and seek employment elsewhere.

The H1B visa was created in 1990 to help the United States attract the top foreign graduates and offer them a path to United States citizenship. When the program was created, Congress promised American workers that their jobs would be protected. Almost every major tech company has employees here on H1B visas, including Apple, Google, etc. Media companies also embrace the practice. The author of the H1-B Visa bill, Former Congressman Bruce Morrison, has stated that the bill has been “hijacked.”

If you have questions about how the H1B visa program could affect your job or your workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced southern and northern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.