Massachusetts Companies Bringing In Foreign H-1B Workers Have Outsourcing Connections

Printed from:

Bring people in to work in the United States to take jobs out of the United States.

That’s the approach some companies take when it comes to the H-1B visa program in Massachusetts.

In fact, in 2020, each of the three companies that received the most amount of H-1B visa approvals were companies that had a connection to outsourcing American jobs. The same is true for five of the top seven and six of the top 10.

Supporters of outsourcing argue it is a smart business strategy that increases a company’s profitability by using cheaper labor abroad when possible. Opponents say it takes jobs from Americans and ships them overseas, and some say competing globally depresses the wages of workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor web site describes the H-1B visa program as allowing employers to hire “nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.” These workers come primarily from India.

Data from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services shows that in 2020, the following companies rounded out the top 10 for most H-1B visas approved in Massachusetts:  Deloitte Consulting (206 approved), Boston Consulting Group (153 approved), Wayfair (152 approved), Harvard University (130 approved), The Mathworks (117 approved), Randstad Technologies (115 approved), Virtusa Corporation (114 approved), Massachusetts General Hospital (101 approved), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (83 approved), and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (79 approved).

While most people have heard of a few of those companies, others have less of a public presence. 

Deloitte Consulting, for example, is a global consulting firm based in the United Kingdom. One of those services they offer is “Outsourcing Advisory.” The company touts itself as being able to help other businesses outsource labor.

“Deloitte’s Outsourcing Advisory practice blends global reach with deep outsourcing and functional experience in crucial areas like finance, procurement, information technology, change management, tax, shared services, and offshoring and reshoring,” the Deloitte web site reads. “We work with hundreds of outsourcing vendors worldwide and stay current with their capabilities and performance. This understanding of the vendor landscape can offer valuable insights into important market trends, the opportunities, and the challenges companies may face going forward.”

While Boston Consulting Group may sound like the kind of company that does local business, some of the work it does includes advising companies as they outsource their labor abroad. In 2018, mobile chipset maker Qualcomm laid off about 1,500 workers in San Diego at the recommendation of The Boston Consulting Group, as points out.

Articles on Boston Consulting Group’s web site make various references to outsourcing — and one employee of the company, Massimiliano Merlini, a managing director for the company in Milan, Italy, has both “Cost reduction programs” and “Outsourcing/offshoring” listed among his areas of expertise.

Meanwhile, Wayfair, the Boston-based ecommerce company, has no problem using labor outside of the United States.

In 2017, the company had a job listing in Boston for an Outsourcing Partner Manager on Lensa. The top job responsibility listed was “Relationship manager providing oversight and business support for Indian offshore vendor.” And back in 2016, the company partnered with Emerge BPO (which stands for Business Process Outsourcing) to do “back-office type work.” At the time, the company employed around 400 people, mostly based in Guyana. The average income per capita in Guyana in 2016 was $4,210, according to Statista.

While Harvard University and The Mathworks are not directly involved with outsourcing labor, Randstad Technologies and Virtusa Corporation are.

Randstad is a human resources consulting firm based in the Netherlands that operates in 39 countries. One of the services the company provides in the United States among its “workforce solutions” is “Recruitment Process Outsourcing,” according to the web site. The site also touts Randstad as one of the best “offshore staffing providers.”

“There are any number of offshore staffing providers promising bargain-basement hourly or blended rates — and we’re simply not interested in competing with them in a race to the bottom,” the site says. “That’s not how we operate. Instead, we operate as a trusted business partner and value-added strategic supplier to leading companies around the world. At our offices around the globe, you’ll find local subject matter experts who can successfully manage end-to-end solution delivery, no matter what your needs might be. No offshore staffing provider can say the same.”

And what about Virtusa Corporation? The Boston-headquartered company is one of “the fastest growing public companies in the global IT outsourcing industry,” according to Silicon India.

The company’s Form 10-K from last year, which is public, confirms that it is an outsourcing company. The first sentence of the company’s overview says that Virtusa “is a global provider of digital engineering and information technology (‘IT’) outsourcing services that accelerate business outcomes for its clients.”

This information comes from a form that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires large businesses to fill out to summarize their financial performance.

Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute round out the top 10 on the list. Partners HealthCare, the parent company of MassGeneral, outsourced 100 coding jobs to India in 2018. The other two have no direct connections to outsourcing labor.

Spokesmen for Deloitte Consulting, Boston Consulting Group, Wayfair, Randstad Technologies, Virtusa Corporation, and Massachusetts General Hospital could not be reached for comment this past week.