"This has long been a tactic of the industry lobbyists and their allies in Congress -- blame the Indians," said Matloff, who argues that every company that uses the H-1B visa is abusing the program by "hiring visa workers instead of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, in order to save money."
Schumer was careful today to separate offshore firms and other companies that use a high number of H-1B visas, from U.S. tech companies such as Oracle, Cisco, Apple, and Microsoft , which he named specifically.
He said their use of the H-1B visas "has greatly benefited the country."
In a clear sign that major interest groups are gearing up for a battle, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the American Council of International Personnel (ACIP)study this week supporting the use of H-1B visa.
The report (PDF document) argues, "In the global economy, investment follows the talent and attempts to restrict the hiring of talented foreign-born professionals in the United States encourages such hiring to take place overseas, where the investment dollars will follow."
Randal Johnson, senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits at the Chamber, said of the comprehensive reform effortthey, that the group would meet with the unions in the next two months to try to negotiate a worker program.
He said he isn't expecting any legislation to be introduced until early next year.
Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the ACIP, said of the visa fee increase: "It is little bit ironic to me that we're using fees from legal workers to fund enforcement on the border."
Although the legislation affects any offshore company, Indian IT companies are the most concerned about the fee increase. India's largest IT industry group, the New Delhi-based National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), says the fee increase may be raising trade issues as well as spark counter protectionist measures.
Schumer has not released a comprehensive reform bill. If he includes new restrictions on the visa, one possibility may be inclusion of the so-called "50/50" provision that limits the number of H-1B or L-1 visas to 50 percent of the U.S. workforce.
That provision was introduced in legislation last year by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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