Stories of private sector H-1B abuse by businesses have garnered more and more media attention recently. However, last year, an article in Politico highlighted the blatant abuse of the H-1B guest worker program within the Federal Government.
Unfortunately, this H-1B abuse included the U.S. Department of Labor – the very federal agency charged with the mission: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”
While H-1B visas are supposed to be used to fill a gap in high-skilled jobs in which there are no qualified Americans available, shamefully, H1-B visas have been used at the Labor Department to employ foreign guest workers, even at Wage Level 1 – the lowest wage level classification for workers.
IEEE-USA has raised this matter with the Congress and has led the way in calling for President Donald J. Trump to promptly take presidential action and issue a directive to ban the use of H-1B visas across the federal government.
While a presidential candidate, Trump issued the following statement regarding the H-1B program:
“The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay. I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”
In a Presidential Memorandum released on 23 January 2017, President Trump issued a temporary hiring freeze on Federal civilian employees across the board in the Executive Branch. While this memorandum seeks to implement a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government’s workforce through attrition, a number of people who perform the Federal Government’s work are contract or indirect employees. After this 90-day hiring freeze expires on 23 April 2017, no safeguard is in place to stop U.S. taxpayer dollars from being used in the future to contract out jobs under the H-1B program – just as they have been contracted out under previous administrations.
We encourage you to contact the White House and reiterate IEEE-USA’s message for presidential action to be implemented across the board in the Executive Branch to stop the federal government from using the H-1B program to outsource jobs during the Trump Administration. You may sign the petition here.
*If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures in 30 days, it will receive an official update from the White House within 60 days.