Friday, March 28, 2008

US senator seeks report on stopping visa abuse

THE issue of H-1B visa abuse by foreign firms, including Indian firms that are the biggest users of the workers’ visas, has cropped up again. US senator Chuck Grassley, who introduced an H-1B visa reform bill last year to give priority to American workers and crack down on visa frauds, has now questioned the US Homeland Security department as to what actions it has taken to reform regulations. He also alleged that H-1B users are bringing in idle workers to US and ‘leasing’ them to other firms.According to data from the US Citizenship & Immigration Services, in 2007, Indian IT major Infosys, which got 4,559 H-1B visa approvals, and Wipro (2,567 approvals) were the biggest beneficiaries of the visa programme for temporary workers in the US. These are followed by Satyam Computer Services (1,396), Cognizant (962), Microsoft (959), TCS (797), Patni (477), US Technology Resources (416), i-Flex Solutions (374) and Intel (369).He also alleged that firms are making a commodity out of H-1B workers. Mr Grassley and senator Dick Durbin had last year raised the issue of abuse of the H-1B visa programme. They wrote to nine Indian IT companies, including Infosys, TCS, Wipro and Satyam, seeking information about visas they had applied for and wages and lay-offs in the US.

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