Bill Would Restrict Importation Of IT Talent - InformationWeek

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Bill Would Restrict Importation Of IT Talent

The measure, introduced by Florida Rep. John Mica, would ban the outsourcing of L-1 visa holders.

Legislation introduced in Congress this week could restrict how offshore outsourcing companies bring IT talent into the country.

The bill, introduced by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., would prohibit the outsourcing of L-1 visa holders--similar to the provision contained in the H-1B visa program. Under the measure, American companies would still be permitted to employ L-1 visa holders. However, those employees could be transferred only from a company's subsidiaries, not from a third party.

Mica says he introduced the bill after learning that Florida companies were using contract workers from offshore outsourcing companies, such as India-based Tata Consulting Services, who were brought over on L-1 visas. The intention of the L-1 visa, he says, is for multinational companies to move employees with specialized skills from one geographic subsidiary to another--not as a way for offshore companies to bring those individuals to their own U.S. subsidiaries and then outsource them. "We believe the intent and the spirit of the law is being abused," Mica says.

However, several vocal opponents of H-1B and L-1 visas, which companies use to bring in IT talent from other countries, believe that the Mica bill doesn't go far enough. Mike Emmons, a former IT contract worker with Siemens ICN, the company's telecommunications division in Florida, heavily lobbied Mica's office for months after learning that existing contract and full-time employees would be replaced with contract employees from Tata Consulting. Emmons says the suggested changes will still let companies transfer lower-cost labor from subsidiaries in India and elsewhere, which still doesn't address the high unemployment rate among IT professionals. U.S. citizens, says Emmons, "should be getting the jobs first."

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