A Different, Disturbing View of the H-1B Program   

By David North on July 29, 2020

My overall view of the H-1B program is that it is used to bring low-cost labor to the U.S. IT industry, and that this lowers wages in the industry, and denies some half a million or so

U.S. citizens and green card holders jobs. Young Indian males from the south of the country get the lion's share of these jobs as non-immigrant workers.

Here's another, quite different take on the program: some of those working in the program – largely from India – have few skills but their hiring and their continuing to hold jobs is riddled with India-based fraud. And these charges are coming from people who write Indian English; they do not want to either end or reduce the H-1B program, they simply wanted qualified Indians to get the job, not unqualified ones.

So in addition to some exploitative employers, the H-1B system also has some cheating migrant workers. It is not a pretty picture.

It also suggests that some of the middlemen in the business must be gullible, at least when those engaged in the fraud are fellow Indians.

A website new to me presents a detailed, step-by-step description of how someone with Indian connections can totally outmaneuver the entire hiring and vetting process of the industry, and wind up with both a good job (certainly by Indian standards) in the U.S., and with back-up people in India to do the work for them. I have trouble believing the last part of the last sentence, but overnight "job support" from India apparently can be part of the package.

The "services" offered are summarized as follows:

If you're a fresh-out-of-college, how can you earn $60 per hour? Fake it. Add 7 years of experience in your resume. Survive. As SIMPLE as that.

Don't worry as Indian IT Consulting Companies will help you make a fake resumes, a fake H1B approval, help with your fake interview, arrange fake reference and job support. They created a perfect ecosystem of forgery and fraud.

The process seems to be seamless. The fraudsters will provide (for a fee of course) a good-looking phony resume; they have planted earlier customers inside existing employers, and they, in turn, can provide references saying that the newbie had worked there, when he had not.

Then proxy interviews (using more senior, skilled workers) can be arranged using Zoom and Skype.

You would think that all this deception would fall apart when the phony worker showed up at the job site and revealed a total lack of the skills that had impressed the HR people.

But no, as the website explains:

Somebody might wonder how Amit, a fresh graduate with no experience, survived in his job that required more than 8 years of experience. He survived because somebody from India was working on his behalf. This person from India is called the 'Job Support Guy'. Usually the IT Consulting companies arrange these Job Support Guys for their consultants.

Amit earns almost $4000 a month after tax. He doesn't mind paying $1000 to the 'Job Support Guy'. Amit sends the list of tasks assigned to him and the end of every working day. The Support Guy works on it finishes the tasks. Amit receives all the solutions after he wakes up in the morning. Moreover, if there's a task that needs to be worked on during business hours, Amit usually provides the Support Guy remote access to his computer using 'TeamViewer' software.

I think the reference to "IT Consulting companies" relates to the "implementation partners" not to Amit's States-side employer. (Amit is described by the author as a fellow "Desi", i.e., Indian, working for the same staffing agency.)

At first I had some doubts about the credibility of this website, but there are only two ways to view it; either it is for real in India (the writer gives extensive background about himself here), or someone in the small U.S. anti-H-1B community had to make it up. I decided, being a senior member of that community, that we have neither the resources, nor the imagination, to dream up such a scheme.

Major questions remain, of course, as to the extent of this phenomenon, and the degree of success of the fraudsters.