With the H1b visa program in mind, Bob Moore and I from InfoTech Resources traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby as members of TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT and engineering staffing industry. There are a series of pertinent issues at hand for the staffing industry. Most importantly, the staffing industry—companies specializing in finding onshore IT professionals to perform project-based work for US clients—has been lumped in with large Indian outsourcing companies, who seek to replace an entire IT function and take jobs offshore.
It was critical that our representatives and their staffs understand that IT projects have to be delivered for companies to maintain their competitive advantage and our objective is to keep that work onshore. Since unemployment levels are so low (an estimated 1.9% for software developers), we need to supplement US based IT organizations with H1b workers for their projects. If we aren’t able to provide this talent, there is significant risk of losing the entire IT function to an offshore firm. The following are the key issues we were delivering in our efforts:
- ADDRESS THE SYSTEMIC SHORTAGE OF TECHNICAL TALENT in the US by supporting
(1) continued access to H-1B workers in highly specialized, high demand skill sets. This access is a critical source of IT talent for project-based work at US-based companies. Without this access, the result will be entire functions being sent offshore.
(2) increased funding for STEM education at all levels (K-12, college, technical school, and post-grad) to develop homegrown IT talent pool. Ultimately, we want our own US educational system to provide the needed talent, but this won’t happen overnight.
- RESTORE “SAFE HARBOR” CERTAINTY FOR “TECHNICAL SERVICES FIRMS.”
If tax reform happens this year, we want the same safe harbor for IT independent contractors as every other industry. Currently, IT contractors are singled out unfairly in the IRS code.
The aforementioned policies are incredibly important to the IT staffing industry because these policies allow for companies like InfoTech and other member organizations in TechServe Alliance to continue as the greatest source of IT talent and keep IT work onshore. It was a privilege to represent our industry on these important issues.