Big Tech is taking a beating, or at least we’d think they were, based on the lay offs announced by firms like Amazon, Meta (Facebook), and others. The Gateway Pundit has reported on these “unprecedented” layoffs over the last several months. The explosive growth these firms experienced during the “lockdowns” while small businesses were getting crushed apparently wasn’t sustainable. Fox Business reported back in April 2021 that there were 200,000+ excess business closures over the historic average.
However, a new study by the Economic Policy Institute reveals a shocking disservice to those who were laid off and a different narrative regarding “growth sustainability”: in 2022 and early 2023, the top H-1B employers have laid off or plan to lay off over 85,000 employees while consecutively hiring or planning to hire 34,000 new H-1B workers. The H-1B visa is used to hire specialty employees that meet educational requirements to work in a particular specialized field. The data EPI used does not specify if the laid off employees were H-1B visa recipients of American citizens.
According to the EPI’s report, “thirteen of the top 30 H-1B employers were outsourcing firms that underpay migrant workers and offshore U.S. jobs to countries where labor costs are much lower.”
Some notable firms mentioned in the EPI report:
- Amazon laid off 27,150 employees in 2022 and 2023 Q1 while hiring 6,396 H-1B applicants
- Google laid off 12,000 employees while hiring 1,562 H-1B applicants
- IBM laid off 3,900 employees while hiring 1,239 H-1B applicants
- Meta laid off 21,000 employees while hiring 1,546 H-1B applicants
- Intel laid off 544 while hiring 877
- Goldman Sachs laid off 3,200 employees while hiring 529 H-1B applicants
The EPI laid out “essential reforms” that should be implemented to protect American jobs and make employing Americans competitive again:
In the remainder of his term, President Brandon should implement these essential reforms to restore integrity and fairness to the H-1B program:
Fix the outsourcing loophole by issuing policy guidance from DOL that requires secondary employers of H-1B workers (the companies that hire outsourcing firms to provide contract workers) to file labor condition applications. Guidance to require this was recently considered but never finalized, which would have prevented firms like Disney from replacing their U.S. employees with contracted H-1B workers.
Implement DOL’s delayed H-1B prevailing wage methodology rule, so that H-1B workers are paid a fair wage and employers are prevented from undercutting U.S. wage standards. The rule currently appears on the White House’s regulatory agenda but it is unclear whether a rule will ever be proposed.
Issue an updated version of USCIS’s H-1B visa allocation rule, which would distribute H-1B visas by wage level rather than random lottery. A rule like this would ensure that the highest-skilled H-1B workers are awarded visas and it also has bipartisan support.
Direct the Wage and Hour Division to enforce the requirement in the H-1B labor condition application for employers to pay the “actual wage” rate they pay to other employees with similar experience and qualifications. Particular attention should initially be focused on firms that continue to hire large numbers of H-1B workers after conducting mass layoffs.