Infotech Lead Asia: Are big Indian IT companies – TCS, Infosys and Wipro – abusing the H-1B visa system?
During a congressional debate on the comprehensive immigration reform, a top US Senator has accused that big Indian IT companies are abusing the H-1B visa system.
“There are some specific abuses of H-1B,” Senator Richard Durbin, said during a Congressional hearing on immigration reform by the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, during which the lawmakers discussed threadbare the H-1B visa issues.
Interestingly, Microsoft told lawmakers on Monday that the current H-1B visa system is disruptive to business planning and operations of US employers. Microsoft already supported the immigration reform which recommends substantial increase in the H-1B visas.
“These outsourcing firms like Infosys, Wipro, Tata and others — Americans would be shocked to know that the H-1B visas are not going to Microsoft; they’re going to these firms, largely in India, who are finding workers, engineers, who will work at low wages in the US for three years and pay a fee to Infosys or these companies,” Durbin alleged.
“I think that is an abuse of what we’re trying to achieve here. Most people would think, well, Microsoft needs these folks, and they’d be shocked to know that most of the H-1B visas are not going to companies like yours; they’re going to these outsourcing companies,” Durbin alleged.
He said this during the hearing in which two Indian Americans testified before the committee and supported the allegations of the Senator against Indian IT firms, PTI reported.
“I personally think it’s important that we both recognise the need for these firms to evolve their business model — I’ve had these conversations myself with them in India — that encourages them to focus on hiring more people in the US,” he told lawmakers in response to a question.
The proposed comprehensive immigration bill if passed by the Congress and signed into law by the US President would bar companies from hiring people on H-1B visa if 50 percent of their employees are not Americans.
According to the US India Business Council and Confederation of Indian Industry, such a move and said that this is against the spirit of India U.S. strategic relationship.
Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs, Microsoft, said on Monday: “Referring to the fact that the US received 40,000 more applications for H-1B visas this year and the cap was reached in the first week itself, running out of H-1B visas this quickly has significant consequences for the economy.”
This year, employers are faced with a scenario in which one-third of the H-1B petitions that they submitted will be rejected in the H-1B lottery. These are 40,000 positions that will remain unfilled despite the fact that qualified candidates have been identified and job offers have been extended after a careful, intensive recruiting process in a very competitive market for talent. This is incredibly disruptive to the business planning and operations of US employers, he said.