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#H1-B: Tata and Infosys under investigation in US over granting of work visas

The US government has launched a major investigation into the hiring practices of two of India’s biggest outsourcing companies over alleged violations of visa regulations.

The Department of Labour is reportedly investigating Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys for violating H1-B non-immigrant work visas.

The issue relates to contracts the two companies were granted by the California-based electricity generation firm Southern California Edison (SCE).

According to the New York Times, hundreds of workers at SCE were laid off and replaced by migrant workers on H1-B visas, predominantly from India.

Earlier this week, the Times alleged similar lay-offs had occurred at the entertainment giant Disney. 

Some of those workers who were laid off were also forced to train their replacements, the Times reported.

The H1-B visa category is widely popular among immigrant workers from South Asia.  Tens of thousands of H1-B visa holders, many from India, work across numerous sectors throughout the United States.

However, the visas have sparked fierce debate in the country over whether they complement American workers or displace them, the Times reports.

More than 80,000 H1-B visas are granted each year with workers attached to Indian companies such as TCS, Infosys and HCL Technologies among the leading recipients.

Many American politicians say that the visas take jobs away from American workers but technology companies like Microsoft and Google have campaigned for an increase in the number of such visas, saying they are vital to economic growth.

According to the Times, most American companies use the H1-B category to bring in small numbers of foreign workers for specialist jobs but in recent years, Indian outsourcing companies have begun importing hundreds of workers at a time to service large contracts like the ones handed out by SCE.

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