Bay Area IT Firm Calls for Accountability on TechNet.org Signatories Lobbying for More H1B Visas

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PlanetMagpie IT Consulting urges major tech companies to drop support for more H1B visas in favor of hiring local STEM talent.

A San Francisco Bay Area IT firm has taken a stand against major tech companies’ desire to import skilled workers from overseas.

PlanetMagpie, a Fremont, CA-based IT Consulting & Web Development agency, has sent letters to the more than 100 major tech companies & organizations of TechNet.org who recently sent a letter to the Obama Administration urging them to increase the number of H1B visas available to American businesses.

In other words, to themselves.

“The TechNet member companies literally control the world’s information superhighway,” said Doreyne Douglas, Vice President of PlanetMagpie. “Companies like Google. Yahoo. Facebook. Intel. eBay. It’s alarming that they’re seeking more guest workers for tech jobs, when studies show that we have plenty of available STEM talent right here.”

Immigration Reform Could Increase H1B Visas Available by 60% or More

Recent immigration legislation has called for a 60% increase to the number of H1B visas. More H1Bs means more temporary skilled workers can be brought to the U.S. (called “guest workers”) to fill positions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) roles.

H1B guest workers do not necessarily displace local workers. But displacement happens frequently – it’s often cheaper to hire guest workers, and regulations are not the same as they are for local hires.

Right now, after a decade of offshoring and using H1Bs for tech labor, the U.S. faces a serious problem with maintaining its own IT workforce and being able to protect its commercial and military networks from cyber-attack. Not to mention, U.S. unemployment is still very high.

According to a recent Economic Policy Institute study ( http://www.epi.org/publication/bp359-guestworkers-high-skill-labor-market-analysis/ ), half of U.S. STEM graduates aren't finding STEM jobs. They study and train to join the U.S. workforce in a high-skill technical role, and then have to work in an entirely different field when they can’t find tech jobs.

No surprise that TechNet’s push has drawn fire from critics ( http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/03/22/tech-companies-push-to-expand-skilled-worker-visas-rankles-critics/ ). As well as those companies in Silicon Valley that want a stronger economy and a secure national infrastructure.

IT Firm Sending Letters to Big Tech Firms, Against More H1Bs and in Favor of Reshoring

“Reshoring” is the practice of U.S. companies moving operations such as manufacturing and IT that they have overseas, back to the U.S.

Reshoring efforts are already underway in the manufacturing industry. They are beginning to occur in IT as well, due to security risks with overseas firms and rising costs offshore.

PlanetMagpie decided to take a stand against more H1Bs and offshoring. Said Ms. Douglas. “Given our country’s precarious financial situation, and the security and IP theft issues offshoring brings, not to mention rising costs, it no longer makes sense to offshore. Large companies who offshore need to connect the dots and look beyond their bottom line to see what they’re doing to our country. Our letter campaign was sent in hopes of finding a corporation with a conscience out there.”

PlanetMagpie sent letters to all 100+ signatories urging them to drop support for an increase of H1B guest workers, and to support Reshoring by hiring from the available U.S. STEM talent pool. PlanetMagpie’s White Paper on Reshoring IT ( http://www.planetmagpie.com/ReshoringAmericanIT.pdf ) was provided to illustrate how Reshoring improves the U.S. economy, helps us strengthen our national IT infrastructure, and even remains cost-effective.

“If the U.S. concentrates on rebuilding its IT workforce, it could do so in as little as 5 years. If there was ever a time to put country first, this would be it.”

A copy of the TechNet H1B letter (with the names of all signatories) is posted at: http://www.planetmagpie.com/files/Tech-immigration-letter-3.14.2013.pdf

A sample letter from PlanetMagpie responding to the TechNet H1B letter is posted at: http://planetmagpie.com/files/H1B-Reshoring-Letter_Facebook5.16.2013.pdf

Contact PlanetMagpie IT Consulting for comment.

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Doreyne Douglas
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