Read Between the Lines: We are sending work to India

by Brandi Moore on February 18, 2009

A few months ago I went to China.  Before I left, I read a few books about the history of China's government, one of which was Life and Death in Shanghai.  This is a story you should not miss.  Its relevant here because the main character "read between the lines" every day.  She carefully studied the paper, looking for clues about what was really happening vs. what was being reported.

I have been reading between the lines today.

GM reported to Congress today and they are going to be working on a "Global" strategy.  I have some very bad news for Detroit: this means they are working to move more of the company off shore. They blatantly told the US Congress today that they were going to stop focusing specifically on the US market.  What market specifically will they be focusing on?  My answer (although I bet you had a smiliar one) India and China.  The parts of the world that are growing.  India/China basket holds more than 3 billion people.  Most of which to not have cars.  That's growth.  And how will they compete?  Against the likes of Cherry who is owned by the Chinese government and stole some of GM's designs?(see article in the WSJ on this a few years back.  Fascinating pictures where the newspaper took off the door of a Cherry model and put it on the GM.  The "key" if you will to the car design is the door.) This is not possible in the US–building cars and parts here and then shipping things to China?

While none of these things were stated in the article (beyond the global strategy piece) what other assumptions are available?

Topic Shift.

Congress added some language to the stimulus bill that, well I will let the Economic Times explain:

"Nearly 100,000 skilled Indian workers' prospects of living the American dream may turn sour with the Congress barring firms that received bailout money from hiring foreigners through HI-B visa programme if they replace US citizens."

I wonder if Congress has ANY IDEA what the average profile is for an H1-B Visa candidate.  From my experience, and this data is backed up by the Economic Times, most of the H1-B visas are issued to technical or scientific skill sets.  Majority of these are jobs in IT.  There are only 65,000 H1-B visas issued each year. 

Here is the real story: Americans do not have the skill sets that these jobs require so employers have two choices:

1.) bring in a candidate and keep the job in the USA.
2.) send the work off shore.

H1-B VISAs holders are your neighbors.  They do not work for "less."  Or in any way impact the job search of someone who already lives here.  Why would an organization want to pay the legal fees to support a visa when they don't have to?  Its not cheap–they must file paperwork and employee lawyers to manage the process.

In essence this provision just sent MORE jobs off shore.  When a company needs something done there is no reason for them to keep that work, especially if they cannot find a candidate.  What a business can learn from this is that the US is being protectionist.  That the US is not helping businesses achieve its needs.  That the US is promoting that search to end with a job offer to someone in a different country.

Lots of folks are writing about this.  But Harvard's recent study of patent applications over the past 15 years really demonstrates that our foreign visitors contribute much more than Congress wants to understand. 

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