A group representing IT workers has begun filing about 380 lawsuits against U.S. companies who advertise, in violation of the U.S. law, that they prefer to hire foreign workers with H-1B temporary work visas.
The Programmers Guild filed about 100 complaints in May and June, with plans to file about 280 more by November, says John Miano, founder of the Guild. The federal Immigration and Nationality Act requires that U.S. jobs must be available to U.S. workers, meaning that companies are not allowed to advertise for foreign workers exclusively.
The complaints stem from ads with wording such as “We require candidates for H-1B from India” and “We sponsor GC [green card] and we do prefer H-1B holders.” The Programmers Guild, looking for ads on major online job boards such as Dice.com and Monster.com, has so far targeted only those seeking computer programmers.
Miano says most of the ads are from so-called body shops that provide contract labor—among them Reasonsoft and Enterprise Business Solutions—and not from big-name IT vendors. Some of the ads come from recruiters working out of apartments, the group claims.
Miano says the complaints are intended to highlight problems with the H-1B program, which vendors use to hire workers for positions they say are hard to fill. Congress has been considering an increase from 65,000 to 115,000 in the annual number of H-1B visas issued.
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), a trade group representing about 40 large IT vendors, says an increase in the H-1B cap is needed even if some abuses exist. ITI member companies are not violating hiring laws, says Kara Calvert, ITI’s director of government relations. “If people are breaking the rules, they should pay the price.”