Indian IT company, Infosys, to be less reliant on US H-1B visas

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Indian IT company, Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing has said that they will rely less on the H-1B visa for its US facilities. Infosys CEO, Vishal Sikka, who took over the reins of the organization in August, 2014, announced to shareholders a more visa-independent strategy at the company's 34th Annual General Meeting.

Sikka hopes that the employment of more local workers and less reliance on the H-1B visa will help the company to reach its revenue goal of $20 billion by 2020. Infosys is also seeking to improve its sales effectiveness as part of a wider strategy.

H-1B visa misuse investigation

Responding to reports that Infosys was under investigation by the US Department of Labor for misuse of H-1B visas, chairman R Seshasayee said in a recent statement: "The labor department were simply performing an audit, there was no investigation into H-1B visa misuse."

Sikka said: "We should not be concerned about the H-1B visa issue, I'm an American citizen. Our compliance to H-1B regulations is impregnable and we take our responsibilities extremely seriously along with the countless other companies across our industry sector that do so. However, as the power of innovation increases, we're at a point where we have to become far less dependent on visas and increasingly dependent on innovation."

Claims of H-1B visa misuse were made by US senators Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, and Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama. According to the two Senators, Infosys was involved in using the US visa programme to replace hundreds of US workers at a power plant, with H-1B visa holders.

The Senators said: "Not only were the American workers replaced, but they were forced to train those taking their jobs. This is just completely unacceptable and a violation of H-1B visa rules."

There has as yet been no confirmation from the Department of Labor that there is an investigation into alleged abuse of the H-1B visa scheme by Infosys.

Infosys said: "We remain committed to compliance with US immigration laws.

The US Department of Labor selects a percentage of visa and labor condition applications for additional scrutiny in this industry and we work closely with them to assist with this activity in the day-to-day course of our business. It's not been communicated to us that there's a wider investigation of our visa practices."

Annual quota

Jeff Sessions has complained that many organizations are exploiting the H-1B visa scheme – which has an annual quota of 65,000 - for the purpose of bringing in what he calls 'lower-wage guest workers', despite many US graduates with engineering and science degrees struggling to find employment.

Indian IT companies are heavily reliant on H-1B visas which allow entry of graduate level skilled workers into the US. This is also true of Silicon Valley technology companies, which are calling for the annual quota to be increased.