Mona Shah & Associates Global Blog

Wal-Mart Exposed for Overuse of H-1B Visas

As the annual H-1B visa lottery is upon us, the AFL-CIO, which is the national trade union center with the largest federation of unions in the United States, has released a report with new findings on Walmart’s use of H1-B’s, accusing them of abusing the system.
The H-1B program allows U.S. companies to bring high-skilled “guest workers” to the U.S. for up to 6 years. However, the H1-B program requires companies to search for American workers before turning to foreign labor.
According to the AFL-CIO Report:

  • Between 2007 and 2014, IT contractors have filed almost 15,000 petitions (certified LCAs) for H-1B visas for work placed in Bentonville, Arkansas, which is the home to Walmart’s headquarters and information technology center. Walmart is a known client of these controversial outsourcing contractors, including Infosys, Cognizant and Wipro.
  • Walmart is driving down standards in the tech industry in the U.S. by using H-1Bs visas and contractors excessively, and violating the spirit, if not the letter of the visa program. This keeps costs low and allows for IT guest workers to be paid less.
  • Walmart and its outsourced IT operations at contractors do not hold up their end of the immigration bargain: they rarely apply for green cards for H-1B visa workers. In some years, they submit no green card applications at all.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “At a time when we face unprecedented levels of inequality and decades of wage stagnation, it is irresponsible to expand access to employment-based temporary work programs that will continue to hold down wages, increase worker vulnerability, and reduce social mobility for deserving workers.”
Wal-Mart has also been quietly supporting corporate lobbying groups, pushing to expand the H-1B program and increase the number of H-1B visas available. The lack of H1-B visas has driven talent and highly educated people from the US. An increase in the number of available visas is sorely needed.