I've seen this before when companies moved to outsource whole system development or support operations, sometimes to offshore companies in India. I didn't think it was possible to lay off people and replace them with directly employed temporary-visa folks.

Are you sure that's what happened? That would seem to be prosecutable fraud, as the companies have to swear that they need the visas to be issued because they can't find critically needed personnel here.
This shit's been going on now for THIRTY EFFING YEARS!

Old news, Mudede, old news. (Go back to censoring comments!)
H1-B visas are supposed to be a way for companies to temporarily fill vacancies there are no American workers available for.

They are not supposed to be a way for people to immigrate or for companies to outsource.

This is blatant abuse of the H1-B program.
Correct, Brooklyn Reader, it IS against the law, but Amerika is the Land of the Lawless.
This article talked about how the H1-B workers are attractive because they are willing to do the same work for less but one thing it did not mention is that they are also attractive because of how compliant they are. From experience I can tell you that many of these workers who work for tech companies put in long hours beyond what they are getting paid for and they are highly unlikely to complain at all about any unreasonable demands that are put on them because of their tenuous status. A lot of the people I worked with at a certain unnamed technology behemoth were indeed more qualified than myself for the same job. They had master's degrees in computer science, I have a BFA. Many had far more generic jobs in QA and such though, like the positions described in the article. Not credible that the jobs cannot be filled with locals.
companies circumvent the layoff and replace illegality by laying off by individual job title and rehiring by a new job title and description. As long as it's incrementally and tangibly different it can be done 'legally'. Morally? No, but the Mouse doesn't care about that.

I probably work at the same behemoth as Rhizome...and yes, you can get cheaper and 'more qualified' workers for 25-50% less...but typically with 25-50% less output and zero imagination and creativity. Managing multiple offshore teams taught me that if you had them following explicit direction and 'copying' previous examples, everything was fine. If you asked them to do something creative? Oh, holy hell, I never knew what I was going to get.
DIsney: No sugar coating & happy-fun-timese any more.
It's all brass-knuckles and bureaucratic vitriol.
Isn't this illegal? I thought companies were only allowed H1-B hires when they "couldn't" find workers domestically. But if you are laying off people and replacing them with H1-B workers, it's pretty hard to claim you can't find anyone domestically.
It's ironic that my brother-in-law who used to be a project manager at Disney in Orlando said the project he managed was outsourced to some Indian company and ended up over budget and poor quality and they ended up having to rely on American contractors to fix the problem. These big companies are very short sighted. They just want to make stock price go up thus managements get more money; the answers are layoffs and outsourcing. Then when they have to rehire later because the contractors screwed up or are bleeding them dry, Nobody goes back to assess the real damage
As if I needed another reason to dislike Disney. Mangles great stories in the name of consumerism? Check. Founded by a probable Nazi sympathizer? Check. Exploits workers? Check.
To put things in perspective, I like Electronic Arts better than I like Disney.
As others have stated, the details of the story are either conflated or Disney is committing immigration fraud. Is it possible that select managers were sent to Bangalore to train their outsourced replacements rather than train workers that immigrated to the US? The former happened at a company I worked for in the early '00s.

I don't have my finger on the pulse of American business, but I thought this was actually a shrinking trend. In the case of my example, eventually the tedious workflow and average quality of work had them kill the program and bring the production work back in-house, an anecdote I've heard repeated often in the last few years at other companies.

@9 - My thoughts exactly.
Perhaps those IT workers could've benefited from union representation in that case...
It's not just Disney, but utility companies along with the usual suspects that like these cheaper workers. You can guess which big local companies like to hire them and are lobbying congress to increase the numbers of HB 1 visas while complaining our local college graduates are ill prepared to take on these "hard to fill" "specialized" jobs. (So HARD to fill, but evidently not so specialized to be trained by American workers before they get the boot.) There has been huge lobbying effort by our mighty tech industry and Seattle billionaires to increase cap of 65,000 HB1 to 195,000. Ted Cruz wants 325,000.

The 10 ten Companies which used HB 1 visas to bring in cheaper IT workers includes Infosys - nice big building there in Bellevue. For the whole list, go to:…

NY times ran a good story of this 6/3/15. It's not all hunky dory either for these young HB 1 dudes. Some get recruited while studying here on student visa in the US. The get hired by these recruiting companies who get paid $61/hr, but the actual worker may only get $25/ hr. Promised Living conditions don't measure up. They become contract workers and work for banks like Wells Fargo. Read about it here:…

Other downside is the spouses who are here under H4 visa chafe mightily at their inability to work and want to change the law to allow them to work. Of course, one day these HB1 visas will go to Malaysians or Kenyans and the HB1 of today may very well be training their replacement. At this point, better to unionize the bloody world.…
Isn't that where the republicans just had a convention?
Replacing with H1B workers is surprisingly easy. You don't actually hire them, you bring in a contracting firm like Infosys, Cognizant , or Wipo to simply take over your IT operations. You bring the contractor company in, they "analyze" how your IT folks currently do business under the guise of looking for process improvements. Then you sign a several year contract with these organizations, and lay off your staff. These companies will staff you with about 1/2 as many workers on site, with H1Bs. They will also provide an undisclosed number of off shore workers from the country that your H1B guys came from and can speak the language. On paper it looks great, less cost, less desks to provide, and these H1B guys coordinate armys of off shore workers. In practice things run on autopilot cheaply for a year or two till the infrastructure decays or your want new tech then you discover the limits of your contract, and have to shovel in more money.

Since places like Disney dont actually hire the H1B's they are not legally in trouble, they are just choosing to outsource operations that they will claim are "not part of their core business." All the big companies have been doing this for years, many of the banks were the first to take the dive.

The process really is a despicable skirting of laws to get cheap work from other countries. Managers pat themselves on the back for their supposed ingenuity, and Congress looks the other direction. Meanwhile local economies pay the price in higher unemployment and lower community investment.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.