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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Extreme job hunting and H1

As employers are slowing down on hiring, groups like The Five O'Clock Club are advocating a more aggressive approach to job searches.

At the same time, two senior Senators in the forefront of a bid to curb the H-1B visa programme have sent a missive to nine Indian tech giants, including Infosys, Wipro, Satyam and Tata Consultancy Services, seeking details of their use of this coveted work visa scheme over the last five years. They shot off their elaborate questionnaire on Tuesday - the day when the US government began receiving applications in their thousands for the new H-1B visas for the next American fiscal year, starting October 1, 2008. The Senators _ Democrat Richard Durbin and Republican Charles Grassley _ had sought information last year as well, but the questionnaire sent out this time is regarded as far-reaching, seeking details of how many visas they received over the past five years, with year-wise data on the number of tech professionals they hired within the US and outside, the average length of stay of the recruits and the median salary paid to them. “The H-1B programme cannot be allowed to become a job-killer in America. We need to ensure that firms are not misusing these visas, causing American workers to be unfairly deprived of good high-skill jobs here at home,” Durbin said in a statement. At the same time IT market scenario and jobs in demand is growing in India. The nine Indian firms are among the top 25 recipients, accounting for about 20,000 of the total 65,000 H-1B visas during 2007. Heading the list is Infosys Technologies, followed by Wipro, Satyam Computers and Cognizant Tech Solutions. The other five Indian firms asked to respond are Tata Consultancy Services, Patni Computer Systems, I-Flex Solutions, Larsen and Toubro Infotech Ltd and Mphasis Corporation. The questionnaire has been sent out to all the 25 companies. The 16 American firms and institutions quizzed include Microsoft Corporation, US Technology Resources, Accenture, Cisco Systems, Ernst and Young, Deloitte and Touche, Google Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase and Motorola. “I have no doubt that we’ll hear arguments all day as to why the cap on H-1B visas should be raised, but nobody should be fooled. The bottom line is that there are highly skilled American workers being left behind, searching for jobs that are being filled by H-1B visa holders. It’s time to close the loopholes that have allowed this to happen and enact real reform,” said Senator Grassley. Bill gates already let all these people know that he needs more H1 to be processed. A legislation, introduced by the two Senators last year to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes “to prevent abuses and protect American companies and workers”, has not yet been taken up by the Senate. In their letter to the 25 companies, the Senators voice their concern that “these visa programmes, as currently structured, are facilitating the outsourcing of American jobs.” “We understand that many employers would like Congress to make more H-1B visas available. However, we must be mindful of the impact importing more foreign workers will have on American workers, especially in light of the recent economic downturn. We believe that before increasing the H-1B cap, Congress must close loopholes in the H-1B and L-1 programmes that harm American workers,” they said. The Senators speak of their added concern that some companies “may be circumventing the requirements of the H-1B visa programme by using other visa programs, such as the L-1, to bring in cheaper foreign labour”. Meanwhile, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which has already been flooded with petitions for new H-1B visas, will be receiving them till April 7 even if they go beyond the cap of 65,000 visas. A random lottery will be held subsequently to determine the visa recipients.

S RAJAGOPALAN read more | digg story

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