Lalor Asks DiNapoli: How Much Goes to Subsidize Temporary Foreign Workers?

East Fishkill, NY - New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is asking New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to audit companies receiving economic development subsidies from New York State and local governments to determine how many jobs funded by these subsidies are filled by H1-B visa holders rather than American citizens or permanent resident immigrants. Lalor's letter to DiNapoli can be read here.

"New York taxpayers deserve to know how much they are paying to subsidize corporations to hire temporary foreign workers rather than citizens or permanent resident immigrants," said Lalor. "New York spends hundreds of millions of tax dollars on corporate welfare disguised as 'economic development' every year. Taxpayers are led to believe that the jobs created are going to New York residents, either citizens or permanent resident immigrants. We're told this, despite the fact that many companies receiving the subsidies often hire H1-B visa holders. For example, it has been well-documented that IBM, a recipient of a wide range of generous taxpayer subsidies, employs H1-B visa holders across the state."

Lalor added, "Because there is almost no transparency in these corporate welfare programs, New Yorkers don't know how much of their money is going to fund jobs for temporary foreign workers. Comptroller DiNapoli's office has done valuable work exposing the waste throughout New York's 'economic development' spending. I'm asking his office to continue that work and determine how much American citizens and permanent resident immigrants are paying to subsidize H1-B temporary foreign labor."

Lalor concluded, "H1-B workers do not have permanent visas and their visa is tied to their employment. While they are able to apply for permanent residence, the wait can take as long as 10 years. If they switch employers, the waiting period starts again. To change jobs, an H1-B worker needs to find a new employer willing and able to sponsor the visa. These factors combine to make H1-B visas operate like indentured servitude. H1-B visa holders are limited in salary negotiations or the ability to seek a better-paying job. That’s what makes them valuable to companies. It also drives down wages for U.S. citizens and permanent resident immigrants. We cannot allow New York tax dollars to go to subsidies that support the employment of H1-B workers."