Infosys CEO sees US visa costs passed to customers

Infosys CEO sees US visa costs passed to customers

New Delhi: Infosys Technologies said the cost from US plans to hike visa application fees on some technology firms operating in the United States would over time be passed on to customers as it was an industrywide issue.

The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on Tuesday on border security legislation, which also significantly raises visa application fees on a select group of companies that operate in the United States, including Infosys.

Infosys Technologies chief executive Senapathy Gopalakrishnan told reporters late Monday that the new fees would however in the immediate future have a minimal impact on India’s second largest outsourcer.

Indian outsourcing companies have come under recent criticism from some US politicians who say they add to unemployment in the United States by outsourcing jobs to foreign workers.

“What happens over time is that this (visa cost) is transferred to customers because this is industrywide. It will be built into the cost," Gopalakrishnan said.

He said that in the short term, the cost of new visa regulations would be approximately $4 million to $6 million as it would affect 2,000-3,000 Infosys employees.

The beefed-up US border security measures were approved by the Senate last week and the sponsor, New York Democrat Charles Schumer, said that the bill was also targeted at a select group of companies that “exploit" US law to import workers from abroad.

Senate aides said this would affect four companies from India that operate in the United States: Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam .

Gopalakrishan said he felt “sad and disheartened" by the move, but said the company needed to better educate sceptics.

He said he believed the government was putting pressure to find a solution to this.

“We hope the government will continue to support us."