Indian Firms Asked to Explain How They Use H-1B Visas

Ann All

Many opponents of H-1B visas contend that Indian outsourcing firms like Wipro and Infosys are hogging a disproportionately large number of the visas and using them to obtain training in American-style business skills for their employees, who then return to India.

 

If this is true, a day of reckoning may be coming soon.

 

According to BusinessWeek, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) have notified nine foreign firms, asking for information on how they use H-1Bs. The senators have already uncovered some pretty interesting information -- namely, that the nine companies in question account for 30 percent of the annual allotment of the visas.

 

Commenting earlier this year, a Wipro executive said his firm uses the visas to enhance the competitiveness of its U.S. clients. Some 2,500 of Wipro's 4,000 U.S. employees are working with an H-1B. Every year, Wipro sends 1,000 temporary workers home to India and replaces them with another 1,000 workers.

 

Among the additional data sought by the two senators: whether H-1B workers are paid less than their American counterparts; whether the visas are used to obtain training for jobs that are then moved to another country; and whether American workers are laid off and replaced with H-1B workers.


 

On the salary issue, at least, information from a General Accountability Office report suggests that a significant number of H-1B visa holders are paid less than American employees.

 

It will be interesting to see whether the senators get answers to these questions. They go right to the heart of the H-1B visa issue and should prove far more useful than the inflamed rhetoric from both opponents and proponents.

 

Grassley and Durbin are sponsors of a bill introduced last month that would impose a number of regulations on firms seeking H-1B visas, including that they make a good faith effort to hire American workers before seeking H-1B visa holders to fill positions.



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May 21, 2007 6:25 AM perry perry  says:
I have also found that the companies are using L1 visas (intra-company transfers for bringing their employees to USA. These employees are paid Indian salaries only and here they are paid the monthly allowance.These employees work at the client sites and misuse the intent for L1 visas. These people are coming in big number as the flight I came in from London had almost 100 employees of these companies.We have to really ask these senators to dig the misues and blacklist these companies who are violating the immigration laws big time. Reply
May 21, 2007 11:20 AM Ramesh Ramesh  says:
I think this is another form of discrimination being resorted to against the developing economies. It's indeed a fact that companies from US and some other nations prefer to outsource their jobs to some of the countries where skills are available at cheaper rates. This might be resulting in some job losses back home, but that should be the reason to doubt the integrity and sincerity of the companies from India and other places in carrying out the ousourced tasks. I sincerely feel that the levels of salaries paid in India are much less than those being paid in US. There's need to investigate, if there are exploitations by some Indian companies, while using the H-1Bs, and then requisite action must be taken against them, but....pure political reasons should not harm the interests of the parties concerned ......Unfortunately that's the kind of impression at the moment. NB: I've never been to US, never used the H-1B, and not even a part of the software development brigade. Reply
May 21, 2007 12:29 PM more info more info  says:
They should investigate the tax filing of those employees also and what is included in the wages. I have seen travel reimbursement (as opposed to wages) then the employee files and gets a refund because the travel is say $15K, but they have 4 exemptions. The employee doesn't pay US taxes but actually gets a refund. www.networkworld.com/news/2006/021506-tata-lawsuit.html?fsrc=rss-outsourcing Reply
May 23, 2007 12:55 PM Ranju Anthony Ranju Anthony  says:
It is a well known fact that the Indian software brigate is a major beneficiary of the H-1B regime; partly because of their superior education than their American peers (most of them are engineering graduates/post graduates from esteemed universities) and their comfort factor with the local dialect. Any individual who cries foul over this is but natural a sufferer. More importantly, isn't globalisation synonym with all these happenings and aren't organisations supposed to earn profits through their commercial establishments. Reply
May 26, 2007 2:08 AM Emma Emma  says:
American IT workers have been displaced by misuse of the visa program by Indian outsourcers. I've witnessed it several times. I also know that the visa holders were paid considerable less, making them more attractive to the American companies. I've also witnessed American IT workers being laid off and replaced by visa-holders from India. It's just plain wrong. Reply
May 31, 2007 5:42 AM Thomas P Thomas P  says:
I am laughing out aloud here looking at these corporate morons. Initially they supported the bill because they thought they can get away with just increasing the number of H-1b outsourcing visas. Now that the secret is out and some of our good senators started to ask questions about it, the industry is on its heels. They are now crying foul, all the wailing and crying has started.It is good that this debate has brought the real secrets about the H-1b program out into the open so that more Americans become aware about this mischief.The Indian outsourcing companies not only pay slave wages to these h1-b employees, they abuse them all over. Companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are bringing in people from India and paying them almost 20 -25% below market rates. These employees are not allowed to stay in USA for more than a few years so that they can be rotated back to India for a fresh batch. In this way more and more employess are getting on site training and more work is getting sent back to india.Hardly any of these H-1b are given chance to apply for greencards and become US residents. This is a double whammy. It drives down wages for all local US citizens and also prevents these H1-bs to integrate into the American society and contribute more to the American system. In the mean time students are not willing to take up computer science or Engineering becuase of these low wages that these people have forces on the industry.This is how these companies are making bulk of their profits.These companies have no oversight and right now are abusing and exploiting every loophole there is.Recently The senator from Maine Susan collins wrote to the Immigration department saying that the investigations by a Maine Newspaper found that some of these Indian companies are opening a namesake office in Maine so that they can put this address in their H-1b applications. The reason being that prevailing wages are lower in Maine than in states like California or Texas. Once thet H-1b visas are approved, these employees are then posted to positions in other states. The investigative journalist went to some of the bogus locations given as addresses and found that there was no one there and there was just a mail forwarding service there. There was not even a single employee there. The list of abuses goes on and onMore scary details about this immigration bill is here for those interested. I read this and said GOD SAVE OUR COUNTRY. If all of us dont wake up and do not do something, these politicians will turn this great land into a third world dumpster pretty soon. lonestartimes.com/2007/05/31/the-immigration-bill-the-closer-you-look-the-scarier-it-gets/ Reply
Jun 4, 2007 5:25 AM Adam Adam  says:
Well folks...quite honestly this is what comes to my mind; As a natural born US citizen i see that our corporations are going global..and this globalization also leads to american jobs being lost. so in essence, US companies went abroad, and as a result, people and companies from different countries also want to go abroad and come here. its a two way street. Why is the issue of big corporations using cheap labor in these third world countries no longer being attacked? so when people come into this country and work here and get paid less, then why is it such a big deal? the root of these problems come from US corporations not h1b ppl. Reply
Jun 17, 2007 9:26 AM GilChrist GilChrist  says:
The actual modern day slavery is in L1-B, not H1-B.The L1-B worker does not have any law like Prevailing Wage Rate protection available to H1-B workers. So for a job qualifed for $ 100,000 the Indian software companies pay $35000 to the employee with same qualification and experience in the US.The L1-B needs to be bound to the same employer, so that they cannot escape slavery. H1-B atleast can change employers for better prospects.Finally, poor L1-B holder cannot refuse to live in the US, if their employers want them to be in, as this is totally based on the employers and not the employee himself.UK has a better law, which directly allocates work permits to the person holding qualification and experience, and he does not have to be a slave to some employer for working.But, as US is a piece of Shit, slavery is here to stay. Reply
Jun 17, 2007 9:51 AM Indian Indian  says:
India had a closed door economy till 1991, and life was much better in India, but we were getting poorer day by day due to the Oil prices and international commodity prices going up as the US companies grew outside India. So, India opened its economy in 1991.after that, in India, local Indians could not longer do any of their local business as the Big US companies like PepsiCo and COCA COLA and others came in India and started to gobble up Indian local businesses. That's when their growth rates started going out of roof.Every young man from small town in India was forced out to big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai by the US companies, and to stay in competition, by the Indian companies.Now, the US has forced this on India, and the Indians are turning it on back on the US. Before you crib about the Indian companies, you should say that your own Businesses and CEO's are getting so greedy that they want the American workers to be displaced and cheap (but better) Indian workers to take over.Also, a US worker does not work beyond normal hours, has too many comfort issues for weeksend work and holidays and a lot more, which the business requires for its growth. The words used in US are "Get it done" and not to "Do it yourself". The US companies do not want to manufacture anything themselves, as the Govt is worried about pollution in US but is burning oil elsewhere in Iraq, CEO's are only thinking about YearEnd Bonus and Severance packages, and labour force entangled in problems due to over-eating and obesity, and all of these being robbed by Healthcare providers and lawyers. How are the companies supposed to grow every year with this situation?Finally, in US, everything is so expensive because the businesses here have restricted the consumers access to direct producers of goods or providers of services. Everything is "Managed" and delivered to consumers at a price 30-50% more than goods and services actually cost.So, the US has its own wrong-doing and culture to suffer from, and there is no escaping it, unless it changes it way of looking at the rest of the world as Slaves to US. It needs to get its own thinking right and remove the words like 3rd world from its dictonary, otherwise you portray a picture that US is better than those countries, and invite more immegration.Finally, US needs to get its education system straightened, so that they can produce brilliant people that India produces day in and day out. Reply
Aug 2, 2007 8:27 AM Tom Tom  says:
I was replaced by an H1B visa holder who gets paid $27,000 a year without medical insurance(at a major med. insurance co.). I have 15 years IT experience, I started programing at the ripe old age of 9 years. This is the second time I have been through this. I am going bankrupt and loosing my home. The newly minted H1B uses my software to do his job. I had to train him before I was let go. The law of supply and demand applies to workers, more H1B's equates to lower pay for all American techs.I like most of the Indians that I used to work with(although they do tend to exaggerate their abilities and can be a bit arrogant) If my job has to be sent somewhere I would rather it be India(a friendly democracy) than china(not, and not). Over the years the BEST most experienced and the brightest have left tech work for better pay and more respect. My advice to the people entering college is not to enter science or engineering. Why study engineering when you can major in business and minor in bing drinking and be the boss of a bunch of overworked underpaid engineers. Why pay Americans when you can lie and cheat and steal your way to bigger paychecks and stock options. Fight back! Don't train your replacements and stop documenting your work for them. If you do have to train them, train them wrong! Make sure it costs the employer bigtime. Don't make it easy for businesses to do this. Picket the businesses who lay you off and take them to court. Report them to the DOL (who will do nothing, but report anyway) put ads in the paper explaining what they are doing and be politically active contact your representatives. Reply
Aug 2, 2007 8:35 AM Tom Tom  says:
"Finally, US needs to get its education system straightened, so that they can produce brilliant people that India produces day in and day out"IndianAmazing! Insulting arrogance and stupidity all in one package! How do you do it? News flash , programming is a vocational level job! I taught myself assembly (I had to write my own assembler ) at age ten. Any kid without brain damage can learn to program. It doesn't take a genius. What Americans need to learn is how to lie on their resumes like their Indian counterparts. Reply
Aug 7, 2007 6:28 AM John John  says:
I have been on H1B visa for 6 years now. I am not from India but have worked with many indians. While some are skillful, most are not, they come to the US for hope of a better life, and would do anything to get in and STAY in. This includes lying on resumes, working long hours to learn from counterparts, renting an apartment with 4 persons sharing a room. I've also experienced some Indian companies who impersonate someone else for phone interviews, only to have some other person show up on the job not knowing what he is supposed to do. Since then our company requires face to face interview.I'm glad that these Senators are now asking questions on these Indian body shop firms like Wipro. These companies should be imposed a limit on H1bs, I'm confident you will see the H1b cap issues go away, and more qualified workers from other countries will get a chance to work in this wonderful country. Reply
Nov 2, 2007 12:21 PM Brad Ward, Arlington, TN Brad Ward, Arlington, TN  says:
There have always been problems with the free markets when it is influenced by government subsidies to corporations like H1B visas.To explain simply what's going on, consider this thought experiment:There are two sellers, #1 &#2, and many buyers in the same market.The two sellers would like to buy their supply to make their product at a low price.The supply includes all inputs to make the product such as materials, labor, manufacturing processes, etc.Ultimately, these two sellers would like to sell their products at a high price and make a profit.Well one day, seller #1 decided that they would like to make more profit but they can't figure out how to take more market share from seller #2 to increase profits.During a meeting with management, seller #1 decides to lobby the government for more H1B visas to help them be more competitive against seller #2 because their labor rate is too high.The government agrees with seller #1 and decides to increase the H1B visa quota.Like magic, the labor rates fall as predicted because of the increase labor supply, and this makes seller #1 happy.Seller #1 can now buy their supply at a lower cost.This in turn, allows their profits to increase because they are still selling high.If seller #2 doesn't take advantage of the H1B visas or the resulting new labor rates, then their profit will be lower because they are still buying the supply at a higher price than seller #1.Therefore, seller #2 will see a decrease in profits.If seller #2 continues to be unprofitable, then they will go out of business after some period of time.Well seller #2 wants to stay in business, so they take advantage of H1B visas as well.So who wins and who loses?Since the labor rate obviously goes down, then the workers for seller #1 and #2 will take a financial loss.That's what happens when the government intervenes.The government basically allowed the sellers to profit at the expense of someone else-the workers.This may not be the intention, but it is certainly the result.Now, let's consider what happens without government intervention:There are two sellers, #1 &#2, and many buyers in the same market.The two sellers would like to buy their supply to make their product at a low price.The supply includes all inputs to make the product such as materials, labor, manufacturing processes, etc.Ultimately, these two sellers would like to sell their products at a high price and make a profit.Well one day, seller #1 decided that they would like to make more profit but they can't figure out how to take more market share from seller #2 to increase profits.During a meeting with management, seller #1 decides to lobby the government for more H1B visas to help them be more competitive against seller #2 because their labor rate is too high.The government disagrees with seller #1 and decides to not to increase the H1B visa quota.Seller #1 is not happy and goes back to management with a different strategy.This time seller #1 decides to improve their manufacturing process to be more efficient and increase productivity.Seller #1 can now buy their supply at a lower cost because they were innovative.In turn, this allows their profits to increase because they are still able to sell high or even slightly lower than before they were innovative.If seller #2 doesn't become more innovative, then his profits will be lower because he is still buying the supply at a higher price than seller #1.Therefore, seller #2 will see a decrease in profits.If seller #2 continues to be unprofitable, then they will go out of business after some period of time. Reply
Nov 2, 2007 12:21 PM Brad Ward, Arlington, TN Brad Ward, Arlington, TN  says:
Well seller #2 wants to stay in business, so they become more innovative.So who wins and who loses?Everyone wins because these two sellers are doing more with less.The results are lower supply costs and increased profits that benefit their shareholders and workers.Moreover, the buyers of their products benefit because the price of their products will ultimately decrease.We're essentially making a choice between capitalism and socialism.Should the government make rules that benefit one at the expense of another?Now lets assume that the government agrees with corporations and grants them this subsidy that essentially lowers the living standard of workers and reduces innovation.How long do you think that there will be political stability in America with this kind of policy?Have the politicians not learned anything from history or the countries that have socialist economies? Reply
Dec 21, 2007 12:17 PM Jane Jane  says:
There is so much corruption with the current H-1b program that it should be entirely shut down. Further, the assertion that Americans are too stupid, lazy, etc. to do these jobs and that the H-1b program brings in the best and the brightest from other countries is just an enormous lie. I surely wish someone would sponsor an investigation of the lies that those H1-b workers have put on their resumes to steal jobs from well-educated, hard-working Americans. This country is going to hell in a hand-basket. We don't need a separation of church and state so much as we need a separation of government and corporations! Reply

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