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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lollipop of US Visa

There is great charm about on-site (read USA) work in employees of Indian IT service industry. This is also seen as great tactic by your employer to keep you engaged with company and not hop job. You are often offered an on-site trip if you are the project savior and decide to quit. And few of you indeed get to go to client place with great pride. But do you get to go on work visa? By and large answer is NO. And probably you don't even know that you are sent to work on illegal visa, famously known as B1 visa. There is nothing illegal about B1 visa per se but this category of visa allows only business meeting or attending seminars. This is why there is initial cap of 3 months to stay. Once it is stamped by your employer that you would travel on-site, this how whole story goes -
  • You are scheduled for an interview with US consulate. Your HR comes to train you on how you should speak about supposed business trip and not utter a word about work
  • You are ecstatic once your visa is approved. More happy as you are entitled to 40$ per day along with your Indian salary
  • You land up in USA and stay for three months and some times work requires you to extend your stay for another 3 months. You complete the job and come back to India. Back in India, you are asked to share you views with rest of team and team assumes that you are the only one who shoulders bigger responsibility and they owe it to you. You see your self as a hero
Now read this -
  • You HR is lying to you and keeping you in dark. You are going to work on B1 visa, at best it can only be called illegal. What you need is L1 or H1 visa. 
  • You don't realize how much a legal worker paid for the same job you are going to do. But any way it's on-site visit, you are the chosen one in team and pride matters along with extra pennies your trip is going to fetch you
  • Working for first 3 months on B1 visa is itself illegal but if that was not enough you are required to work for 3 more months. And if it were not for the limit of 6 months your employer would ask you to stay for even longer and pay you pennies 
You don't have do any research to find truth about these facts. Look how many of your team members have been to US on B1 visa and worked. Where does the problem arise from? Why are we Indians so fascinated with on-site trips? The reason is simple, being triton among minnows gives great sense of self accomplishment. We want to show how superior we are to the team and to the society. After all working in US is considered a royal status in India. Is not it? And don't forget those extra dimes your illegals trip is going to fetch you. You are already paid cents and extra pennies boost your morale immensely.

Now how many of us would accept it if a worker from Pakistan or Sri Lanka comes to India on illegal visa, works and earns money, causes an Indian to lose the job because foreign worker is ready to do the job cheaper than us and eventually goes back to his/her country. Makes you angry? This is exactly what we have doing to native Americans. We go to work on illegal visa, are paid less and deprive American citizens of job.

But it also seems that US companies/authorities are in cahoots with Indian IT companies. They can hunt down Osama in a foreign land but have been unable to detect B1 visa fraud for so long. Though it seems that few cases are finally emerging. Have you heard of Infosys visa fraud issue?

I can never have any thing against working in USA. In fact there are great tech companies and innovations happen in USA than any where else in word. But Indian IT companies have only exploited the huge work force we have here in India. Exploited to the extent that fresh graduates are hired from college but portrayed as experienced engineers. The engineers are paid least and manager enjoy most (I have seen as big team of two engineers with one manager). Sent to work on illegal visa. Can be laid off any time but if you want to leave then you need to comply with notice period. Need to wear formal every single day. Does not matter if you stay in office till 12 am but should be back in office 9am next day. Heavy on processes, 90% of which is sheer overhead. I can keep writing on the nonsense which goes in to Indian IT service industry. But the bigger question is - do we want to shape up such IT industry in India?

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