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Global Business Team

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Outsourcing increases despite H-1B visa clampdown

Companies in Indiana and across the country are facing more frequent denials of their H-1B visa applications, typically used to sponsor a visa for a foreign national with a high level of technical skill. In many cases, H-1B visa recipients attended U.S. universities and graduate schools and are highly trained in scientific or technical disciplines. Government officials have stated that the use of H-1B visas is reviewed strictly because some companies and industries may be using them to bring in highly skilled workers more cheaply than their American counterparts. However, others say that restricting H-1B visas hurts only American businesses and highly skilled workers while other jobs continue to be outsourced abroad.

One report indicates that companies like AT&T are laying off a number of workers in the U.S. before establishing outsourced jobs overseas. The report said that U.S.-based workers had to train their replacements, who work for international firms contracted to provide services to the telecom giant. These layoffs are not affected by the visa denials and tend to focus less on highly skilled tech workers and more on call centers, administrative tasks and other jobs that can be easily done outside the U.S.

Others say that companies are moving offices overseas due to the problems with the H-1B visa program. While in 2015, consulting companies typically had single-digit refusal rates for their visa applications, those rates reached over 55% for some firms by 2019. Several firms have opened offices in Canada, a country requiring significant benefits and pay but with a much more open door to business or employment-based immigration.

Companies want to make sure that they bring in the most highly qualified people to advance their industry, especially in scientific and technical fields. An immigration attorney may help companies to navigate the business immigration process and successfully seek H-1B visas.