U.S. Senators Take a Shot at Infosys, Wipro, TCS et al

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic Senator Richard Durbin  on May 14, 2007 fired a shot across the bow of nine top Indian IT companies that heavily use H1B Visas charging them with displacing qualified, American workers.

In a letter to the CEOs of the top nine IT companies including Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Satyam, and Patni seeking details of their H1B Visa program, Grassley wrote:

“More and more it appears that companies are using H-1B visas to displace qualified, American workers,” Grassley said. “Now, 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 program, we need to take a good, hard look at the employers who are using H-1B visas and how they are using them.”

Similarly, Democratic Senator Richard Durbin also took a harsh stance on the H1B Visas, which lets skilled people like software programmers and engineers from other countries work in the U.S. temporarily.

“Supporters claim the goal of the H-1B program 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,” Durbin said. “We have to look at the system that generates these visas and the way they are used. This legislation will help protect American workers first by stopping H-1Bs from being exploited and used as outsourcing visas.”

The nine Indian IT companies that received letters from the Senators together used 20,000 H1B Visas.

To see the full text of the Senators’ letters, click here.

Obviously, the Indian government is not happy with the letters.

“Temporary movement of skilled professionals is an essential component of the global services economy and bears no relation to immigration issues,” Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said. “Any move that creates uncertainty and unpredictability about such movements will naturally have an adverse impact on the rapidly expanding services trade.”

Nath plans to take up the issue with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and at the G-4 meetings starting Thursday, May 17, 2007 at Brussels.

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