Bengaluru: The US government is learned to have begun investigating alleged H1-B visa violations by Indian software majors Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys Ltd, according to a US media report.
The US labor department has opened the investigation against TCS and Infosys for “possible violations of rules for visas for foreign technology workers under contracts they held with an electric utility Southern California Edison”, a leading New York daily said on Friday.
A H1-B visa, which permits a foreign national to work in the US for a maximum of six years, is granted to overseas outsourcing firms for sending their skilled employees to work on onsite projects of their clients in north America.
The power utility had recently laid-off about 500 tech workers amid claims that many of them were made to train their replacements who were immigrants on temporary work visas brought in by the Indian IT firms.
The department had notified Democrat Senator Richard Joseph Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Jefferson Sessions of Alabama about the probe.
The reported move by the labor department comes close on the heels of entertainment firm Walt Disney laying off around 250 local employees and replacing them with Indians holding H1-B visas.
TCS officials were not accessible while a Infosys spokesperson told IANS that the company would respond to the media report soon.
Meanwhile, Indian stock broking firm, Angel Broking does not foresee any financial implication for both the global software majors for whom North America continues to be a major outsourcing market, accounting for about 60 percent of export revenue.
“This development (probe) is in the normal course of business and hence, we believe that it won’t have major impact on the business dynamics,” Angel Broking’s vice-president (research) Sarabjit Kour Nangra said in a statement from Mumbai.
The broking firm maintained that buying shares of TCS and Infosys at a price target of Rs.3,168 and Rs.2,630 would not be a risk.
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2017:India-based technology company Infosys said Tuesday it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States, growing its American footprint at a time when it has become a political target in the U.S.
Infosys has been a big user of H1-B visas in the U.S., a program under which overseas firms, most often technology companies, move foreign workers to the United States after the overseas businesses declare they cannot find enough qualified U.S. workers. Critics of the visa program say the foreign firms have cost U.S. workers their jobs, however, because the foreign companies usually pay the temporary workers less than they would have had to pay American employees to do the same job.
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As part of his “America First” pledge, President Donald Trump recently ordered government agencies to review the visa program. Trump said he wants to bring in the “best and brightest” foreign workers and reform immigration laws as they relate to work and border security. But one suggested reform – that companies paying the highest wages be granted the work visas – would directly affect Infosys.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which manages the visa petitions, says that about 70 percent of the 85,000 H1-B visas issued annually go to Indians, and more than half of them are working for information technology companies like Infosys, which then outsource the workers to American firms.
Infosys has been one of the biggest users of the H1-B visa program, sending more than 15,000 workers to the U.S. in the last two years, although it has trimmed its visa requests for this year. Under the program, foreign-born workers typically can be employed for three years by a sponsor company and apply to stay longer.
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Infosys said it would hire the 10,000 U.S. workers over the next two years, opening four technology centers, with the first in the midwestern state of Indiana, where Vice President Mike Pence was governor before Trump tapped him as his running mate in last year’s national political campaign.
Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka told Reuters, “The reality is, bringing in local talent and mixing that with the best of global talent in the times we are living in and the times we’re entering, is the right thing to do. It is independent of the regulations and the visas.” (VOA)
In this era of globalization, competition is increasing in every field. In India, jobs in IT sector are multiplying day by day and the craze among the employees to go abroad is on a high note.
Nirman Jain, an employee in the reputed firm ‘IBM’ was very proud upon his first onsite posting in Jordan but his family had security concerns. On the borders of Syria and Iraq, this country is at a high risk location. These locations are sometimes good for you as companies pay a hefty package and allowances. IBM paid him a daily hardship allowance of about 40 Jordanian Dinar (roughly Rs.4,000). He was able to buy a house in Bangalore after spending three years in Jordan continued in South Africa.
But these packages are not given by all companies. Another employee, Rahul Bhatnagar working in a large Indian IT firm didn’t got a single penny extra after working in Iraq for 3 years. He also had a narrow escape from the country couple of times. Finally, he is back to home after resigning his job.
Rules and Regulations monitoring Allowances
IT firms like IBM, Cognizant etc. are bound to give extra allowances to employee sent to high risk locations due to US regulations. But in India, there are no rules and regulations to monitor these allowances given by IT firms. Thus, it is different for different Indian companies.
The issue is tending as the countries like London, Brussels, Paris and Sydney which was considered safe before are now prone to terrorist activities. Raghavendran Ganeshan, an employee of Infosys (an IT firm) was killed in the recent attack in Brussels. These incidents are giving rise to family concerns.
Huge Indian employees working abroad
According to Nasscom, IT services firms have deployed about 500,000 Indians overseas. Where these employees are working? There is no data available to show region wise deployment of Indian workers.
As the whole whole world is now engulfed by ‘Terrorism’, experts think that hardship allowances and insurance will cover the hiring pattern very soon.
“When companies such as IBM pay hardship allowances, it will put pressure on other IT firms to follow suit as otherwise it will increasingly become difficult for the latter to attract talent,” says Sanchit Gogia, CEO, Greyhound Research.
As mentioned earlier there are no specific rule in India regarding the extra allowances which results in the variation in different IT firms. “There are enough people willing to go to locations such as the Middle-East and Africa because of the additional allowance they receive over and above their salary,” says Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of Headhunters India.
“It is cheaper to pay compensation after an unfortunate incident than paying risk allowance or insuring an employee,” says Lakshmikanth.
However, Nasscom Chairman BVR Mohan Reddy says that IT companies are doing a lot for employees in risky areas.
“The firms take good insurance cover on dynamic premium tariffs. The covers are much larger than are offered in India,” he says. While most of the top IT firms declined to give on-record comments for this report, Tech Mahindra said that it has put in place various measures to ensure that employees who travel abroad on work are taken care of in the event of a crisis.
Safety measures that could be taken by employees
“All associates travelling to certain countries can download a mobile app and get alerts on their mobiles about medical, clinical, and security measures and precautions to adopt. We also provide emergency response services and support,” says Rakesh Soni, Chief People Officer of Tech Mahindra. He added that the company offers its employees comprehensive insurance.
Sudhir Chaturvedi, Chief Operating Officer of NIIT Technologies, which has employees in Brussels, says the company has protocols to deal with terror attacks. “We alert our staffers and facilitate conversations with their family members back home. Should they want to come back from the place in question, we will arrange for that,” he said. NIIT Technologies set up a war room after the Brussels attacks.
In accordance with the above steps, the employee should assess all the past conditions of the host country before migrating there. Also, they should think about their families before taking such decisions.
Aakash is pursuing B.E , Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.
She also said that two other Indians, both employees of Jet Airways, who were injured were “recovering well”.
At least 34 people were killed on Tuesday. Two deadly explosions rocked the Zaventem airport and a more powerful blast ripped through a train coach at a Metro station in the heart of Brussels. It is the worst terror attack in Europe in four months. (IANS) (Image Source: fortunedotcom.files.wordpress.com)