New Delhi: India’s IT industry on 30 May 2007 formally replied to allegations concerning abuse of United States’ H1-B visa, saying there was no merit in linking loss of American jobs and the visa programme.
In a letter to Senators Charles Grassley and Richard Durbin on behalf of the nine Indian companies they had accused of abusing the visa to displace American workers, IT industry body Nasscom said: “These two do not seem to go hand in hand as exhibited through the 2006 survey by Money Magazine.”
It further said that the visa programme was not limited to the information technology sector nor to Indians alone.
In fact, nearly 14,000 or 20% of the H1-B visas granted in 2006 went to American educational institutions, Nasscom contended.
Noting that the number of H-1B visas was currently very limited, it said many US industry leaders have repeatedly stressed the need to raise the cap.
The number of visas were reduced to 65,000 from 1,95,000 two years ago.
Nasscom, however, assured its support as also cooperation of its member companies on the larger issue of visa fraud. It also echoed the Senators’ belief that any fraudulent activity should be dealt with in the strictest possible manner.
Senators Grassley and Durbin, in their letter on 14 May to nine Indian companies including Infosys, Wipro and TCS, asked them to disclose details of their workforce and the way they were using the H-1B visas.
They said they had reason to believe that companies are using the H1-B visa to displace qualified American workers.
The letter had sparked sharp reaction from the Indian government and commerce minister Kamal Nath had raised the issue of the two lawmakers writing directly to the companies with United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab at a G-4 meeting in Brussels.
Nasscom also sought to clear the perception that US-India trade is primarily flowing in one direction.
“India is a major buyer of a whole host of US goods and services, including aircraft, wheat, branded garments and accessories etc... An overwhelming majority of the computers and software used by India’s IT industry as also other sectors of the economy are those produced by US companies like HP, Dell, Microsoft and Oracle,” it said.
The premier IT industry body stressed that H1-B visas are beneficial to US and Indian companies and also to the US economy.