Hiring US Citizens vs. Foreign Tech Workers for IT Jobs: Which is Better for You and Your Company…are Your Preferences Legal?November 22nd, 2011
As the technology world continues to burst with new opportunities, creating millions of career opportunities in the coming years, technology based companies everywhere are scrambling for suitable IT candidates. While the preference of hiring US citizens or foreign tech workers is based on many factors, it is now a matter of legal debate due to an H1-B employment bill in the Senate currently that may seriously change the way companies must approach recruitment and hiring of IT staff. This bill has now been signed into law by President Obama under the Financial Stability Plan.
In fact, several prominent IT firms have come under fire based on allegations that they misrepresent the number of available US candidates in favor of hiring foreign workers – a practice that has long gone on under the radar because foreign workers traditionally don’t command the wages that US Information Technology specialists do. From small development companies to large powerhouses in IT, the use of foreign workers is the preference of many in an effort to keep project costs down and increase profitability.
However, this entire practice can backfire as companies may be inadvertently not offering enough assignments to US workers, who still number in the many thousands. With close to 10% of the US adult workforce currently unemployed, the pressure is on for IT companies to show preference to native candidates, then foreign workers. The H1-B Senate bill makes it illegal to hire more than half your workforce as foreigners if you have more than 50 employees.
Additionally, as an employer you are required to advertise job openings for 30 days on the Department of Labor’s web site before making H-1B visa applications, giving American workers ample time to apply and be considered first. Jobs cannot be advertised strictly for foreign workers – there must be complete equality for all candidates regardless of nationality under EEOC guidelines.
How does your company stack up and do you follow the “rules” when it comes to offering IT assignments in a non-discriminatory way? If you are unsure, then it’s generally a good idea to seek legal counsel from a trusted employment attorney to review your current hiring practices in terms of this new law. Alternatively, you can stay out of “hot water” by contracting with a quality IT staffing agency like Stark Talent that maintains all the laws as they pertain to hiring technology workers. This can give you peace of mind that you are a fair and legal employer.