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Do H-1B Visas Steal Jobs From American workers?

By Casey Logan | Ever heard of Hertz, Chico’s FAS, FGCU or Lee Memorial Health System?

Those are among the dozens of companies doing business in Southwest Florida to seek employees through H-1B work visas, with the number of workers on these visas in the region appearing to be in the hundreds.

Disney World H1-BThe visa is designed to be used for foreign workers in “specialty occupations,” which require highly specialized knowledge, but that can be misleading.

The occupation list includes architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social science, biotech, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts.

Other recognizable businesses in Southwest Florida to apply for these visas include 21st Century Oncology, Algenol Biofuels, Arthrex and NeoGenomics.

Employers with jobs in the tech sector tend to use these visas more than any other and workers from India more than any other country are using them.

Republicans criticize use of high-tech visas

Critics of the H-1B visa say it takes jobs away from American workers, contend outsourcing companies are taking advantage of the system and say that employers are saving money by paying foreign workers lower wages.

The H-1B program was in the news earlier this month, thanks to a story in The New York Times that used Orlando’s Disney World as an example of abuses in the system.

About 250 Disney employees were told that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on H-1B visas — those workers were brought in by an India-based outsourcing firm and some Disney employees were required to train their replacements.
09-16-2001 7b; Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom,

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, asked for the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the visa program after The New York Times story emerged.

In May, about 35 tech workers at Disney/ABC Television in New York and Burbank, Calif., were told they would be laid off and that during their final weeks would have to train immigrants brought in by an outsourcing firm. That training began, but was suspended. On June 11, the Disney employees learned their layoffs had been canceled.

Infosys Ltd., the India-based outsourcing firm that’s the top user of H-1B visas — filing 73,109 applications from fiscal year 2011 to 2014 — is doing business right here in Lee and Collier counties. Infosys has 43 listings when searching for Naples on, an employment website for immigrants, and 13 when searching for Fort Myers


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