In a press release on Friday, congressman from California, Darrell Issa, responded to “disturbing” reports suggesting that Southern California Edison misused the H-1B visa program.
Reports allege that recent SCE layoffs of some 400 IT staff employees may have been motivated by the company’s desire to replace them with cheaper labor from overseas. Issa, who represents the 49th district and has held the seat since 2001, informs that the use of the H-1B visa in this way was not how it was intended to be used.
His release reads as follows:
Reports that Southern California Edison used the H1-B visa program to replace part of the company’s current IT workforce are deeply disturbing.
“Based on the information currently available, this appears to be an example of precisely what the H-1B visa is not intended to be: a program to simply replace American workers en masse with cheap labor from overseas. Indeed, current law requires that an employer certify that the hiring of an H-1B applicant ‘will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed,’ in keeping with the program’s intent of injecting new talent into the economy, rather than merely replacing current workers with lower paid counterparts. Congress is currently considering reforms to the H1-B program, and legislation I’ve authored includes stronger prevailing wage protections to ensure that companies aren’t simply using the program to replace existing workers with lower cost imported labor.
“I urge Southern California Edison to be forthcoming in releasing information about the process behind this decision, and I look forward to a thorough and transparent account of what attempts were made to ensure this major hiring decision adheres to the very clear statutes outlining the intended structure of the H-1B visa program.