Republican congressional candidate has attacked foreign worker program his companies used extensively

Story highlights

  • Bob Gray has said in multiple interviews that the H1-B visa was frequently abused by companies.
  • Three companies where Gray has been an executive have applied for and received H1-B visas.

(CNN)A Republican congressional candidate in Georgia's special election has been attacking a program that companies he managed used to hire foreign workers.

Bob Gray, who is running in a tight race to fill Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price's vacant seat in Georgia's 6th congressional district, has said in multiple interviews that the H1-B visa was frequently abused by companies. The visa is meant to allow employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations when there is a shortage of qualified Americans.
Yet three companies where Gray has been an executive have applied for and received H1-B visas, according data provided by the Department of Labor. Two of them, Keane and NTT Data Corporation, requested and obtained hundreds of H1-B visas for foreign employees. The third, Maine Point, employed two H1-B employees.
    In an interview with radio host Chuck Wilder, Gray was asked about his position on the many American visa programs. Gray has repeatedly referred to the H1-B incorrectly as H1-B3, a visa for fashion models.
    "I'll give you an example of one visa program that's been utterly abused," Gray said, "and that's the H1-B3 visa, which I know quite a bit about."
    "We have, through the use of that visa program, have really hurt many American workers that had previously been working in very high wage jobs and we don't need to do that."
    In another interview, with Breitbart Radio, Gray said: "The H1-B3 program has been totally abused. We have through that program, much like we did in the Rust Belt, we have fundamentally changed the technology services industry in this country where we've reduced the wages, we've transferred much of the work offshore to India and other countries."
    On his LinkedIn page, Gray says he was Executive Vice President for Keane--an IT services company--from 2008 to 2010 and that he "restructured and turned around the business." Keane received 45 H1-B visas in fiscal year 2009 and 305 in fiscal year 2010.
    NTT Data, where Gray was president of commercial service from 2010 to 2013, employed 2 H1-B employees in fiscal year 2010, 1 in 2011, 561 in 2012, and 1,327 in 2013.
    In response to CNN's request for comment, Gray said in a statement, "Initially intended to allow American businesses to bring foreign workers here with skills otherwise not available to American companies, the H1-B visa program has been grossly expanded beyond this original intent. This has caused a drastic reduction in the salaries paid to workers in the United States. As an executive in this industry, I have personally observed the incentives global technology companies have to exploit the outdated H1-B visa program. American immigration policy needs to prioritize the American worker first."