In a move pregnant with possibilities, two US Senators have asked nine Indian IT firms—(in alphabetical order) i-Flex, Infosys, L&T, Mphasis, Patni, Satyam, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Wipro—to disclose details of their workforce to see how they have been using the H1B visa program. The lawmakers, one Republican, one Democrat, contend that the H1B visa, which was introduced by the US to help people from all over to come and work in the US was being abused and misused to displace qualified American workers.
The Senators’ missive, coming on the eve of comprehensive immigration reform legislation aimed at increasing the H1B visa quota for companies, uses the dreaded F-word (“fraud”) and say the program was not being used as originally intended by Congress. “Too many H1B visas are being used to facilitate outsourcing of American jobs to other countries,” Senator Richard Durbin (R) says.
So, is the H1B visa game over? Or will influential American businesses along have their way? Will the bottomline of Indian companies using the H1B visa plank as their launchpad suffer as a result of likely curbs? Or, like Indian politicians, are the US Senators only playing to the gallery on the eve of an election year?