As both worker and boss, Neeraj Gupta has profited from the H-1B U.S. immigration program.

The visa, intended for skilled workers, allowed him to stay in the U.S. after earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama in 1991. Later, the H-1B provided a steady supply of foreign-born employees for a technology-services company where he worked as an executive.

Today, Gupta is an outspoken critic of the program that helped start his career and that technology moguls, including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Bill Gates and Facebook Inc. (FB)’s Mark Zuckerberg, want Congress to expand.

“Somewhere along the way, the program’s been hijacked,” says Gupta, 45, chief executive officer of Systems in Motion, a closely held company based in Newark, California.

As lawmakers consider the first major overhaul of U.S. immigration law since 1986, the high-technology industry is divided over the H-1B program. While both industry leaders and startups seek the world’s most innovative thinkers, outsourcing firms, hired by corporate clients to help cut costs, got more than half the 85,000 visas available last year.

Gupta, a native of India who’s now a U.S. citizen, says the H-1B is leading to “economic abuse.” Outsourcing companies -- such as Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH) and Infosys Ltd. (INFO) -- use the program to import thousands of lower-paid information- technology workers instead of employing Americans, even as the program fails to meet the talent demand at firms such as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Facebook, he says.

His company -- using American workers based in Ann Arbor, Michigan -- competes against the outsourcing companies.


Eric Lehti wrote:
Who's Hiring H-1B Visa Workers? Not Microsoft or Google, but
offshore-outsourcing firms are

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