Washington: Amid a raging debate in the U.S. on raising the cap for H-1B visa for employees from foreign countries, two Senators have written to 25 organisations, including half-a-dozen Indian IT companies such as Infosys and Wipro, seeking details on utilisation of visa.

Pointing out that the programme cannot be allowed to become a job-killer, Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Chuck Grassley, in a letter made available on Grassley’s website, said: “We need to ensure that firms are not misusing these visas, causing American workers to be unfairly deprived of good high-skill jobs here at home.”

The H-1B visa programme allows companies to employ temporary foreign workers in speciality occupations, often in the high-tech industry, while the L visa programme is for intra-company transfers of managers, executives and specialists.

Apart from Infosys and Wipro, the letter has been to Satyam Computer Services, Tata Consultancy Services, Patni Computer Systems, I-Flex Solutions, Mphasis Corporation, L&T Infotech and Cognizant Tech Solutions.

Interestingly, the letter was sent on April 1 when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started getting H-1B visa applications for fiscal 2009.

“I have no doubt that we will hear arguments all day as to why the cap on H-1B visas should be raised, but nobody should be fooled. The bottom line is that there are highly skilled American workers being left behind, searching for jobs that are being filled by H-1B visa holders,” Mr. Grassley noted.

Plugging loopholes

“It is time to close the loopholes that have allowed this to happen and enact real reform,” he added. — PTI