Saturday, May 31, 2003

From NYT -- Special Visa's Use for Tech Workers Is Challenged
"Even if this brouhaha is about a real problem, I think when you look at the number of workers involved, it is a totally insignificant drop in a massive labor market," said Daryl Buffenstein

That's a great way to sidestep an issue. The article claims there are about 325,000 such L-1 visa holders in the US. A significant number of these are in the IT industry, considering that at the height of the boom there were not 2,000,000 IT related jobs in the USA, and hundreds of thousands of them have disappeared since, this is not a tiny slice of the 140,000,000 overall jobs market, but a significant part of a much much smaller IT-related one. According to one of NYT's own previous article NYC, one of the places hardest hit lost about 50,000 IT jobs. That's roughly equivalent to what the article claims last year's L-1 amount was. I do not think that is insignificant, at least I do not see how one could infer that from anything said in the article. I would dearly like to know what the actual question to Mr. Buffenstein was, in order to judge the reply.
Now, I do not doubt the legality and use of L-1 Visas. In fact, the one-sidedness of the article is downright disturbing. Do not British banks transfer employees here from London? And do not we send tons of such workers to countries all over the world looking for oil, coal, working in finance and law? Are most of the vias going specifically to Indian IT outsourcing companies? Is the issue here truly visa-related or more generally productivity-related? As usual, NYT prefers to ignore, or barely touch on any of the real issues in the argument, leaving me as a reader to wonder what the point of the article might be. IMO, with its contradicting quotes and limited information the piece does not let me decide for myself, nor does a good job of reporting.
Again this turns into an anti-NYT rant. Sorry.

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