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Indian cos accused of abusing H-1B

May 15, 2007 10:08 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Indian tech firms are abusing the H1-B visa programme to displace skilled American workers - that's the view of some American lawmakers of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Immigration.

These American lawmakers have sent notices to several Indian companies including Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services asking them to disclose details about their workforce.

The lawmakers feel that the H-1B visa programme is being abused by these firms to displace qualified Americans.

"As we move closer to the debate on an immigration bill, I continue to hear how people want to increase the number of H-1B visas that are available to companies. Considering the high amount of fraud and abuse in the visa programme, we need to take a good, hard look at the employers who are using H-1B visas and how they are using them," Republican Senator Charles Grassley was quoted by news agency PTI as saying in a statement.

"Supporters claim the goal of the H-1B programme is to help the American economy by allowing companies to hire needed foreign workers. The reality is that too many H-1B visas are being used to facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries," Democratic Senator Richard Durbin was quoted by PTI as saying.

Some American firms in California have also been asked to respond, but other US lawmakers believe the programme has been beneficial to US industry.

Companies like Microsoft want the number of H1-B visas increased from 65,000 to 115,000.

The senators also sent letters to Patni Computer Systems, I-Flex Solutions Inc., Satyam Computer, Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd., Tech Mahindra Americas Inc. and Mphasis Corp.

Senators Grassley and Durbin recently introduced a legislation that would overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes to give priority to American workers and crackdown on unscrupulous employers who deprive qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.

Information that is being asked of the companies are on the number of visas they hold, wages, efforts to recruit qualified American workers, outsourcing of jobs to other countries and whether any US workers have had their responsibilities outsourced.

(With inputs from PTI)