INFOSYS, TCS, WIPRO DENY MISUSE OF L-1 VISAS

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Leading software exporters like Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys Technologies who have been listed by a US labour organisation of abusing L-1 visa, vehemently denied any instance of visa violations.

Michael W Gildea, executive director of the Department for Professional Employees, an umbrella organisation of 25 unions, on Wednesday, had said leading Indian software firms were acting as "body shops", bringing in foreign workers in L-1 visas and then subcontracting them out to other businesses.

Gildea told the House International Relations Committee that some of these firms and others like them had a "troubled history" under the H-1B visa programme .
"Yet, these firms are now among the biggest users of the L-1 programme supplying Indian IT talent to a who's who of the Fortune 500 corporations," he said.

L-1 visas are for "intracompany transferees" and L-2 visas are granted to their spouses and dependent children. Dan Stein, Executive Director for American Immigration Reform, told the Committee that that unlike applicants for other categories of temporary employment visas, L visa holders need not maintain a legal intent to return home.

This makes it easier for them to get on track to petition for permanent resident status "and makes something of a mockery of the idea that this is a temporary visa programme," he said.

Reacting to this allegation an Infosys spokesperson said that the company complies with visa statues and regulations in letter and in spirit and works with governments and consulates of the countries in which it operates to ensure that it fully understands and correctly interprets the immigration regulations. "L-1 visa regulations stipulate that only employees with specialised knowledge or holding managerial and executive positions can file an application. Infosys adheres to this regulation and more importantly, does not differentiate between H1 and L-1 pay scales, although not legally mandated.

"We are primarily an H-1B dependent company, with 65-70 per cent of our employees in the US holding H1-B visas. Most of our employees stay in the US for the duration of the project, which is typically 1-2 years, and return to the home country." said a statement from Infosys.

TCS, on its part, said that the company operates within law and hence there is no question of misuse.

Wipro, the other company which has been dragged into this controversy in a statement said, "We are in total compliance with the requirements of law relating to visa. Hence the question of abuse of any type does not arise."

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