Fresh concerns are being raised in the US over foreigners on H-1B visas, especially from India, replacing local workers — this time at the iconic Disneyland.
The theme park giant laid off 250 workers last October. They were replaced by temporary workers on H-1B brought from India by an outsourcing firm.
A Disney employee, who has been unemployed since his last working day in January last year, told New York Times that he, among others, had to train the people who replaced them. “I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs,” the worker said, adding, “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”
There is a move to expand the H-1B programme to enable US companies hire more highly skilled workers from abroad to make up for a shortage at home.
There is currently an annual cap of 65,000 (plus 20,000) on fresh H-IB visas, which typically run out as soon as the government starts the application process around April every year.
But there has been mounting opposition against the programme from those who fear that US-based companies — including those from India such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro — use H-1B visas to bring cheaper workers from abroad. In a similar move, Southern California Edison, an electricity supply company, laid off 540 workers last year to be replaced by those brought in by Indian outsourcing firms.
Disney executives told The New York Times that the lay-offs were part of a reorganisation so that the company eventually created more jobs than it outsourced.