Immigration Bill: A Boon for Tech Contractors?

Susan Hall

You find IT jobs in some surprising places. Take the immigration reform bill, which the full Senate passed Thursday. And I don’t mean a higher cap on H-1B visas, though that’s there, too.

Among the bill’s provisions:

  • Expanding the federal E-Verify program nationwide, requiring all U.S. business owners to use it to check the immigration status of all new hires within four years.
  • Requiring the United States to begin fingerprinting all foreigners departing U.S. airports to better track who's left the country and who has overstayed their visas. The amendment first presented would require fingerprinting of those who enter the United States as well, but that bill failed. This version would require Homeland Security to begin fingerprinting at the 10 busiest airports for international traffic within two years and expand it to 30 airports in six years.

Mother Jones reports that those two provisions could be a boon for government contractors. It says Accenture has lobbied hard for expansion of the biometric requirements, with a $1.9 billion contract from DHS, and would like to see requirements extended to land ports as well. Meanwhile, its technology to verify passports has gone international.

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Infosys, with a $132 million contract from Customs and Border Protection for IT work in 2012, also creates biometric systems.

Making E-Verify mandatory creates a huge market, one the International Franchise Association – think Hardee’s, McDonald’s, etc. – stresses must be “affordable and workable, particularly for the small business franchise owners we represent.”

In addition, there will be contracts for towers, radars, and camera systems associated with the ramped-up border security included in the bill. It provides $4.5 billion for surveillance technology for the Border Patrol in an attempt to secure the Southwest border.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 28, 2013 8:54 PM Digital Asset Management Digital Asset Management  says:
Our colleges and universities are not graduating enough students with strong science degrees, computer science or otherwise. Graduates with the right kinds of backgrounds for data scientist – computer science, statistics, machine learning – are coming out of the universities, but they are not coming out in sufficient numbers. As a result, firms are struggling to hire full-time or contract staff for IT and engineering positions. In working with IT staffing agencies, I know it's important to know their true professional goals. Help them achieve their growth goals and help them establish a career growth path. Reply
Jul 9, 2013 9:59 PM ThoseWhoServe ThoseWhoServe  says: in response to Digital Asset Management
There are plenty of U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens interested in pursuing IT careers. Unfortunately, their interest wanes when U.S. and global multi-national corporations prefer to use lower-paid and malleable (in terms of working conditions and salaries) H1(b) visa foreign nationals. Several years ago when HP acquired EDS, HP was simultaneously complaining about the shortage of IT workers while it was laying off approximately 17,000 EDS IT employees providing software development, systems design, and other IT services. Shortly after that, IBM Poughkeepsie was eliminating software developer positions while moving their jobs and workload to India. Reply

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