Tough times for Infosys employees, here and abroad
Recently, U.S. investigators conducted investigations to determine whether Infosys Technologies violated American visa laws by placing its foreign employees in temporary jobs located in the U.S.
IT employees and the industry body NASSCOM have expressed concern over the recent probe by the U.S. against some Indian companies, including country's second largest software exporter Infosys, on allegations of violating visa norms. Infosys, which has 64 offices and 68 development centres in India and abroad, has its largest facility here at Mahindra World City, Chengelpet, with over 30,000 employees.
Recently, U.S. investigators conducted investigations to determine whether Infosys Technologies violated American visa laws by placing its foreign employees in temporary jobs located in the U.S. The visas involved are B1 business visas, which allow companies to send their employees to the U.S. for short-term purposes, such as business conventions or consulting.
Infosys has, however, denied accusations of abusing the U.S. visa process and said it will cooperate with the investigation.
Employees at the Infosys development centres in Chengelpet and Shozinghanallur are apprehensive as are the hundreds of students the company has recruited from across the State. Infosys is the third largest recruiter in the state, next to TCS and Cognizant.
“The best thing about Infosys is its training processes and on-site opportunities. We hope this development will not affect these,” said an employee, who has been working with Infosys for past five years and has been to the U.S. twice.
On Monday, NASSCOM Vice-President (Global trade and Development) Ameet Nivsarkar said that the organisation was concerned over recent investigation. NASSCOM, he said, was working with the governments and policy-makers to find ways that can help mitigate the impact of the visa restrictions on the IT industry.
“We need to understand that the parameters governing H1B/L1 visas are not clearly defined,” he said.
Consultants estimate that the company has nearly 10,100 persons on H-1B visas and 2,200 employees on L1 visas in the US. Indian IT firms fly thousands of employees each year to the United States to work at their clients' locations as on-site technicians and engineers. U.S. Consulate data reveals that in recent years, Infosys and Wipro have received most of these visas.
Tougher visa regulations have already begun affecting business, say consultants. “The visa rejection rates in the U.S. for Indian techies have doubled from around 4 per cent to over 8 per cent over the past nine months,” said R.K. Balasubramanium, a senior HR personnel.
The news comes as a dampener to employees who are already unhappy over last month's announcement by the company that there will be no hikes this year. “The company has assured us that there will be 20,000 promotions but the hikes are on hold, so it is frustrating,” said an employee.
Others note that several cost-cutting measures, including suspension of recreation facilities and removal of coffee dispensers from lobbies, have also been put in place.
“Besides, food charges have also gone up by almost 40-50 per cent and transport charges by Rs. 200 every month,” added an employee.
Infosys management officials, however, denied any cost-cutting measures from the company's side. The rise in food prices was due to the current inflation in the food industry and no recreation facility had been suspended, they maintained.
Many experienced employees have already left for better deals in other companies,” said an employee with two years' experience.
“Infosys job postings in every job-search website have increased by 10 per cent. However, the work environment and culture remain the same as ever and so many are continuing hoping the situation gets better,” he added.
This story has been edited for clarity.