The task of fixing the HealthCare.gov website will fall to Accenture LLP, and that’s bad news. It means the Obama Administration has effectively offshore outsourced Obamacare. It’s likely that the tech jobs just awarded under the Obamacare contract (worth $90 million and paid for with U.S. tax dollars) will be based in India or performed by imported workers from India on H-1B visas. Accenture is one of the biggest offshore outsourcers of American jobs. In 2012 they used just over 4,000 H-1B visas, making them the fifth largest company using foreign workers to displace U.S. workers and to offshore outsource jobs.
It’s a company with a poor track record. Contracts with Accenture have previously been cancelled by states including Colorado, Texas, and Florida. In 2006, the U.S. Marine Corps cancelled a contract with Accenture to design and implement a global supply chain and maintenance system. In 2011, Accenture paid over $63 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of kickbacks, bid-rigging, and other serious violations.
Offshore outsourcers like Accenture typically use the H-1B visa to displace Americans and to transfer large tech projects to nations where labor costs less. In fact, in 2012, the top ten employers receiving H-1B visas were all offshore outsourcers of high-tech American jobs. Many of these jobs should have gone to U.S. workers, but employers are not required to recruit them; in fact U.S. workers are sometimes simply replaced with H-1B visa employees.
Offshore outsourcers like Accenture typically pay about 25 percent less for imported employees than the predominant wage for a U.S. citizen employee. In 2005, Accenture’s more than 12,000 H-1B foreign workers earned an average $53,000 for work that would earn an American employee $80,000. By undercutting labor costs, companies like Accenture out-compete American businesses seeking government contracts.
As it currently operates, the H-1B program hurts employers that hire American workers. Domestic sourcing companies like Ameritas Technologies and Systems In Motion are put at a disadvantage because they hire American citizens. Their competitors hire less expensive H-1B workers. It’s clear than any immigration reforms must include strict regulations for offshore outsourcers like Accenture along with a legal mechanism that makes enforcement meaningful.
Until those reforms happen, employers who seek to hire H-1B visa workers are going to need the help of an experienced immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can review your policies and records, go over your H-1B visa petitions, and help you to stay in compliance with always-changing immigration rules. In fact, if you are an employer with any immigration-related questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to consult an experienced immigration attorney promptly.