Senator accuses Indian firms of abusing H-1B visas

Updated - November 16, 2021 08:13 pm IST

Published - April 23, 2013 01:16 pm IST - Washington

Amidst Congressional debate on the comprehensive immigration reform, a top US Senator has accused big Indian IT companies — TCS, Infosys and Wipro — of 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.

In fact, Senator Durbin went on to brand the top Indian IT companies as outsourcing firms.

“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,” Mr. 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,” Mr. 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.

Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs, Microsoft, too supported the Senator on the issue.

“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 per cent of their employees are not Americans.

The US India Business Council and Confederation of Indian Industry have opposed such a move and said that this is against the spirit of India US strategic relationship.

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