July 20, 2007, - 6:53 pm
Attention, ICE: How ‘Bout Investigating This Open H-1B Violator? Correction: Munjal Shah Says NOT Using H-1B Visas to Give Jobs to Foreign Aliens
By Debbie Schlussel
**** UPDATE/Correction, 07/22/06: Munjal Shah, CEO of Riya and the subject of this post, has written in the comments section of this entry to dispute what I’ve written herein. He says I am wrong and that he is not using H-1B visas to bring over foreigners to do the work he admits Americans are qualified to do. Instead, he’s using L1 – intercompany transfer visas, to bring foreigners here to do the work Americans WILL and can do.
My mistake, and I stand corrected. You say “to-MAY-toh,” I say “Tom-AH-toh.” Either way, he’s still bringing in alien workers to America to do the work he admits Americans are qualified to do, given the chance (which he won’t give them).
And I gotta hand it to Mr. Shah. That’s a clever trick. Open an office in another country to avoid hiring Americans and outsource the jobs there. Then, bring the outsourcing back here with him under the guise of “Intercompany Transfer.” Ain’t America Grand.
And, FYI, the Wall Street Journal article in question quotes Shah as saying that it cost him a lot to close up and move his outsourced Indian office functions back to America. He could have avoided the huge expense–and my post about him–had he hired Americans to do the job here in the first place. Overall, he and his company lost . . . and so did America.
So, while it may be legal, it’s a way of getting around hiring Americans. He took jobs away from Americans in the first place,a nd now he’s bringing those non-Americans to whom he gave the jobs, over here to America. ****
Recently, I told you about a law firm that gives seminars advising companies how to avoid hiring Americans. The firm–among many others around the country, I’m sure–gave employers advice on how to hire foreigners for jobs Americans are qualified for, but at a much lower salary.
It’s called the H-1B Visa. And employers constantly lie, claiming there are no qualified Americans, so that they can hire a foreigner for much less.
A few weeks ago (July 3rd to be exact), the Wall Street Journal did a front-page story, “Some in Silicon Valley Begin to Sour on India: A Few Bring Jobs Back as Pay of Top Engineers in Bangalore Skyrockets.” As you probably figured, the story is about how companies outsourcing skilled software developer jobs were now finding it was no cheaper to do business in India and that it paid to close up shop and move back to the U.S. Munjal Shah, CEO of Riya, Inc., a California start-up, was one of those companies and the centerpoint of the story.
He decided to close his Bangalore office and move all operations back to San Mateo, California. But here’s the rub (which wasn’t the focus of the story, but it sure caught my eye).
He’s bringing Indian software developers here on visas, even though he admits to the Wall Street Journal that there are plenty of qualified software developers here who can do the same job:
Indian salaries soared. Last year, Mr. Shah paid his engineers in India about half of Silicon Valley levels. By early this year, it was 75%. “Taking into account the time difference with India,” he says, “we weren’t saving any money by being there anymore.” In April, Mr. Shah shut down the Bangalore office and offered half of its engineers a chance to move to San Mateo, Calif., with work visas. . . .
“I realized price expectations were too high,” Mr. [Azhar] Khan [the Muslim VP of the company] says. “I thought, “Wait, why are we paying a junior guy $50,000 or $60,000 over there when I can get a guy [in California] for $80,000?”
In April, he and Mr. Shah decided to shutter the Bangalore operation and bring key staffers to the U.S. After getting board approval, they flew to Bangalore and assembled the 20 engineers to break the news. “They were all upset,” says Sowmya Karnad, Riya’s human-resources director in Bangalore. But given the soaring wages, it didn’t come as a surprise. Messrs. Shah and Khan offered 10 engineers a chance to move to Riya’s U.S. office. Eight, including Mr. Dalal, accepted. . . .
Mr. Shah says Riya’s shutdown costs, such as immigration charges and a broken lease, will be in six figures.
He has cleared eight desks in San Mateo for the eight Indian engineers coming over and is waiting for their paperwork to clear, hoping they’ll be in Silicon Valley by the end of the year.
How is he allowed to do this? H-1B Visas require ads in papers describing salary, hours, job qualifications, and job description. It also requires Shah to prove he can find no qualified Americans to do the job. But he already admitted to the Wall Street Journal that there are plenty of Americans in his vicinity who will do the job and are qualified.
So how does he get away with it? And why isn’t Marcy “Black Ass” Forman-Friedman a/k/a “Peppermint Patty,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director of Investigations, putting her agents in the Silicon Valley to work on Mr. Shah and his company? Doesn’t she read the Wall Street Journal? It’s an easy, open and shut case, with the perpetrator admitting what he’s doing and giving his real name.
It’s this simple: Shah said he originally moved some company operations to India because he could pay software developers far less. Pretty soon, by early this year, those Indian workers wanted 75% of the pay and benefits that American ones demanded. With the time difference and costs of the office in India, this eliminated any profit differential he had by being located in India. So he moved back, but offered and obtained visas for several of the Indian software developers, again, even though he admitted that Americans can do the same work (and, now, at the same price).
That Shah and Khan openly admit to this, shows that the laws for H-1B Visa enforcement don’t have any teeth behind them. That’s because the “teeth” work for Peppermint Patty and Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess,” and they shy away from enforcing the law against big business H-1B visa violators. That’s why they are being laughed at with front-page open braggadocio in the nation’s most read newspaper.
Hey, ICE: Get to work on this case. Time to investigate Munjal Shah and Azhar Khan for hiring aliens to do the job Americans WILL do . . . but aren’t being given the legally-required opportunity to apply.
Tags: America, Azhar Khan, Bangalore, California, CEO, Dalal, Debbie Schlussel, Director of Investigations, human-resources director, India, Julie L. Myers, law, lease, Munjal Shah, Peppermint Patty, Princess, qualified software developers, Riya A, Riya Inc ., San Mateo, Shah Says, software developer, software developers, Sowmya Karnad, start-up, the Wall Street Journal, United States, USD, VP of the company, Wall Street Journal