UCSF defends move, citing cost.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D – Calif.), whose San Jose district includes much of Silicon Valley, has criticized the University of California over its decision to exploit a loophole in the H-1B visa that sends U.S. information technology jobs overseas.
The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) medical center next month will begin replacing some existing IT workers with H-1B B visa workers, becoming the first public university to ship U.S. tech jobs offshore, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The 97 IT workers, whose contracts with UCSF will be severed Feb. 28, have been ordered in the meantime to train their replacements, who are employees of the India-based IT outsourcing firm HCL Technologies.
Lofgren, whose San Jose district includes much of Silicon Valley, said the move by UC undercuts its duty of preparing students who are working to join the tech industry, reported The Washington Free Beacon.
“UC is training software engineers at the same time they’re outsourcing their own software engineers,” Lofgren told the Times. “What message are they sending their own students?”
USCF officials told the Times the school was forced to turn to outsourcing because of economic challenges, including the expansion of California’s Medicaid program under Obamacare.
Officials said sending IT jobs offshore will save $30 million over the next five years under the HCL contract, representing a paltry savings of 0.1 percent of the UCSF budget, which was $5.83 billion in 2015-2016.
Lofgren joined California Democrats Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the fall to demand that UC President Janet Napolitano reverse the university’s plan to outsource IT jobs, noting the H-1B visas are meant to “supplement—not replace—the American workforce.”
Feinstein noted that the UC system received $8.5 billion in federal funds in the 2014-2015 academic year, calling it “particularly concerning” that the tax dollars would be used “to replace Californian IT workers with foreign workers or labor performed abroad.”
“I understand that UCSF may need to cut costs for a number of reasons, but I firmly believe that this is not the way to do it,” Feinstein wrote to Napolitano.