Recent announcements of mass layoffs have created new scrutiny around the H-1B visa program, which brings foreign tech workers (mostly from India) to the US for work (at below-market wages, critics say). But IBM (IBM) is going with a novel tack: Instead of bringing cheap Indian workers to America, the company is demanding its American workers move to cheap India and get paid India-standard wages.
A better option than being laid off? IBM has been quietly eliminating thousands of jobs over the past few weeks.
InformationWeek gets their hands on leaked IBM documents explaining the program:
IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand,” IBM says in an internal notice on the initiative. “Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move.”
The document states that the program is limited to “satisfactory performers who have been notified of separation from IBM U.S. or Canada and are willing to work on local terms and conditions.” The latter indicates that workers will be paid according to prevailing norms in the countries to which they relocate. In many cases, that could be substantially less than what they earned in North America…
“It’s more of a vehicle for people who want to expand their life experience by working somewhere else,” said [an IBM] spokesman. “A lot of people want to work in India.”
IBM employees may have their own, more sinister explanations. Multiple IBM staffers have written in to SAI to claim the company has a program in place of demanding deliberately difficult relocations, with the company saying anyone who refuses to move will be considered a “voluntary departure” and denied severance benefits.
Know more about IBM’s layoffs or relocation plans? Email [email protected], anonymity guaranteed.
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