US Companies Training Foreigners to Replace Homegrown Workers

Toys “R” Us at Vaughan Mills. Photo by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

According to an investigation conducted by the New York Times, some US companies are training foreign workers in the US using temporary visas and then sending them offshore to work.

Companies like Toys ‘R’ Us and New York Life Insurance bring foreign employees into the US to train them to do the jobs which are done in their home offices in the US. After the worker has learned the job of the American employee, the US worker is then fired. The foreign worker goes home and begins his new job there.

The NY Times reports one example of a former employee of Toys ‘R’ Us who stated that a woman from India on a temporary visa sat with her for a month this past spring while she performed her job as an accountant at the toy company’s headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey.

“The woman…studied and recorded the accountant’s every keystroke, taking screen shots of her computer and detailed notes on how she issued payments for toys sold in the company’s megastores,” according to Julia Preston, the New York Times’ National Immigration Correspondent.

Many of the foreign workers were in the US on a special visa program known as H-1B. This program lets American companies hire foreigners if they are professionals with “highly specialized knowledge” which the company needs. However, the federal guidelines for the program say that the employers must sign a statement that declares that the hiring of the foreign workers “will not adversely affect the working conditions” of Americans or lower their wages.”

The fired workers stated that the foreign workers did not have specialized skills, and their employers forced them to train the foreigners, threatening to force them to resign if they refused.

“At the very least, those are violations of the spirit of the law,” Christine Brigagliano, a lawyer who advises companies on obtaining visas..  “Those contractors are signing on the bottom line, saying we will not undercut the wages and working conditions of Americans. But, in fact, they are.”

About Peter Jefferson

Peter Jefferson is a full-time researcher for www.businessdistrict.com, a task he took on in 2011 when the site was launched. He brings to the position a wealth of practical experience in the field of fiscal policy, having consulted with various government bodies on revenue collection, expenditure and economic growth. Contact Peter at peter[at]businessdistrict.com