Law Firm Helps Give H-1B a Bad Name


The latest recipient of a letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who reallywants to get to the bottom of this whole H-1B controversy about companies willfully scamming the system, is a Pittsburgh law firm whose attorneys told conference attendees how to skirt government requirements for an employment program.


The firm, Cohen & Grigsby, posted a video of the presentation online to promote the conference, reports BusinessWeek. It was promptly picked up by the president of the Programmers Guild, which opposes expansion of programs that make it easier for U.S. firms to export foreign workers, and posted on YouTube where, needless to say, plenty of folks have seen it.


Hey guys, last time we checked, the Internet was a public medium -- as many job seekers with colorful MySpace profiles have discovered the hard way. Let that be a lesson to the rest of us: Don't put anything online that you would hesitate to share with the world at large.


Unfortunately, boneheads like this make it harder for companies that can make legitimate good use of H-1B visas -- and yes, we think there are plenty of them out there.


The subject of the presentation, the Permanent Labor Certificate program (PERM), lets companies sponsor foreign workers for permanent residency if they are unable to fill positions with American employees. As outspoken H-1B critic Ron Hira (who had lots to say in our interview with him last month) notes in the BusinessWeek article, "What's disturbing about this from a public policy standpoint is that the PERM is supposed to be the gold standard. If you can circumvent those rules, it begs the question of what's going on elsewhere."