Obama softens his tone on offshoring
All that's missing is a plan for the H-1B visa
Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- A few months ago, Congress raised the fees on H-1B visas, and midterm election candidates -- the Democrats in particular -- pummeled opponents over offshore outsourcing. These actions had the Indian government and its IT industry on edge and worried about new restrictions on the visa.
But in India this week, President Barack Obama reshaped offshoring as part of international trade. Instead of complaining of jobs moving to Bangalore, as he did last year, the president's message to India's leaders was soothing, emphasizing how trade works both ways.
Said Obama: "I want to be able to say to the American people when they ask me, 'Well, why are you spending time with India? Aren't they taking our jobs?' I want to be able to say, 'Actually, you know what? They just created 50,000 jobs.' And that's why we shouldn't be resorting to protectionist measures; we shouldn't be thinking that it's just a one-way street. I want both the citizens in the United States and citizens in India to understand the benefits of commercial ties between the two countries."
Indian IT business leaders seemed pleased with Obama's remarks, and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh added his own point as well. "As far as India is concerned, India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the United States of America," he said. "Our outsourcing industry I believe has helped to improve the productive capacity and productivity of American industry."
Obama's message is in sharp contrast to what has been going on in the U.S.
In Ohio, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland went so far as to sign an executive order in August prohibiting state agencies from contracting with any company that offshores a state service. Strickland lost his re-election bid to Republican John Kasich. Strickland's executive order will lose force once he leaves office.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made a last-minute attempt to provide tax breaks to companies that hire U.S. workers. He won re-election.
Obama may have signaled to the Indian government a willingness not to start piling restrictions on the H-1B visa and on offshoring in general. But much depends on what Congress does, and it is possible that the lame duck session could offer H-1B supporters an opportunity to make gains, particularly through amendments tacked on to some pending appropriations bills.
India is seeking a number of things from the U.S., including the creation of a service visa, apart from the H-1B visa, that could be used by firms that engage in IT services work. The Indian government is also seeking a totalization agreement, similar to agreements the U.S. has in Europe, that would end the need for Indian visa workers to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Unless they become permanent residents, those workers will not see benefits from those payments.
- H-1B loophole may help California utility offshore IT jobs
- H-1B applications surge to 172,500, twice the cap
- U.S. hits H-1B cap with 'high number' of petitions
- Durbin warns Republicans standalone H-1B hike plan will fail
- Offshore firms took 50% of H-1B visas in 2013
- H-1B visas produce net IT job boost, trade group says
- Gates sees software replacing people; Greenspan calls for more H-1Bs
- Use of H-1B alternative skyrockets
- GOP presses ahead on H-1B, green cards with vague, muddy statement
- 5 reasons why your IT job search is getting harder
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big...
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
All IT Outsourcing White Papers |