How to save U.S. IT jobs

10 outsourcing experts offer their proposals for restoring America's IT labor force

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Stop regulating businesses

"Place a moratorium on legislation and regulations impacting businesses. Multi-national companies feel like they have a target on their back while trying to compete around the globe. In times of uncertainty, they stop hiring employees and hire more lawyers and consultants to protect themselves from what may or may not come. They have choices on where to headquarter and hire, and they will move away from countries that don't support their profitability and sustainability goals.

"The government should provide tax incentives -- federal, state and local -- to providers who establish service centers in the U.S., with added incentives based on the unemployment levels of the area. I'd like to see a 'Partnership for America' plan that subsidizes IT training centers in these unemployment hubs and provides increased bandwidth and more robust infrastructure in rural areas to attract IT delivery centers and create jobs there."

-- Lee Ann Moore, chief marketing officer for outsourcing consultancy EquaTerra

Fix broken immigration and visa policies

"The best long-term solution would be to enact the Durbin-Grassley bill, but there are a number of executive actions the Obama administration could take immediately to help solve the problems.

"The H-1B visa is centrally about cheap labor, obtained legally through loopholes involving the definition of prevailing wage. The government should auction off the visas to the highest bidders -- those employers who pay the highest premium above prevailing wage. Since the employers claim the foreign workers are 'the best and the brightest,' they should be willing to pay a premium wage, just as they would for high-quality Americans.

"The current administration should also reverse the previous administration's extension from 12 to 29 months of Optional Practical Training, which allows a new foreign graduate from a U.S. university carte blanche access to the U.S. job market.

"Fixing the employer-sponsored Green Card fiasco is equally important. The labor certification process, which ostensibly requires employers to seek qualified Americans before resorting to hiring a foreign worker, is full of loopholes. Under the current system, an employer can first sponsor a foreign worker for an H-1B visa with no requirement that it seek out American workers first. That visa holder works for the employer for a while and is then sponsored for a Green Card on the grounds that no American has the on-the-job experience to fill the position. The Department of Labor should disallow employers from using experience in the position as a criterion. They also should require employers who wish to sponsor a foreign worker for a Green Card to advertise the position on a Website maintained by the DOL [Department of Labor]."

-- Dr. Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis

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