Wednesday, May 16, 2007

US asks Infy, Wipro to explain use of H-1B visas

Contending that the H-1B visa programme is being abused to displace qualified American workers, two US lawmakers have asked nine foreign-based firms, including some leading Indian companies that used 20,000 of such visas, to disclose details about their workforce and their use of the special programme.

As the US Senate gets ready to take up the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the two top law makers -- Republican Senator Charles Grassley and Democratic Senator Richard Durbin -- said "more and more it appears that companies are using H-1B visas to displace qualified, American workers."

"As we move closer to debate on an immigration bill, I continue to hear how people want to increase the number of H-1B visas that are available to companies. Considering the high amount of fraud and abuse in the visa programme, we need to take a good, hard look at the employers who are using H-1B visas and how they are using them," Grassley said in a statement.

"Supporters claim the goal of the H-1B programme is to help the American economy by allowing companies to hire needed foreign workers. The reality is that too many H-1B visas are being used to facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries," Senator Durbin said.

The two have written letters to the firms to determine if the programme is being used for its intended purpose, which is to fill a worker shortage for a temporary time period.

The companies the senators sent letters to were Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Patni Computer Systems, I-Flex Solutions, Satyam Computer Services, Larsen & Toubro Infotech, Tech Mahindra Americas and Mphasis.

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