IT Hits Es­cape But­ton, Steers Clear of Murthy’s ‘Im­mi­gra­tion’ Line

Some in­dus­try in­sid­ers said the tim­ing of the In­fosys founder’s com­ments was ‘ter­ri­ble’ given the dis­con­tent in the US against al­leged mis­use of H-1B visas for skilled work­ers

The Economic Times - - Sports - Neha.Alawadhi@ times­group.com

WHAT MURTHY SAID

New Delhi: The In­dian IT in­dus­try has dis­tanced it­self from In­fosys founder NR Narayana Murthy’s com­ment that the coun­try’s soft­ware in­dus­try has been act­ing as “im­mi­gra­tion agents” for its em­ploy­ees. Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, Murthy, while ad­dress­ing a gath­er­ing at the In­dian School of Busi­ness in Hy­der­abad, said: “All In­dian com­pa­nies guar­an­tee visas, they guar­an­tee green cards. The whole ex­er­cise has be­come as if they are im­mi­gra­tion agents. I am sorry to say that. In­dian com­pa­nies be­have as if they are agents for their em­ploy­ees to cross the At­lantic.”

Murthy could not be reached for com­ment. In­fosys de­clined to com­ment on his state­ment, while emails to other top IT com­pa­nies re­mained unan­swered at the time of go­ing to print. The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Soft­ware and Ser­vices Com­pa­nies (NASS­COM) could not be reached.

“The ser­vices in­dus­try is glob­alised and high-end skills will move freely from one coun­try to the other. Over the years, with con­tin­u­ous evo­lu­tion and in­vest­ing in skill build­ing, the In­dian IT in­dus­try has been able to cre­ate more high-value job op­por­tu­ni­ties within the coun­try. But a cer­tain num­ber of em­ploy­ees will have to move across the bor­ders, it is the fun­gi­ble char­ac­ter of the in­dus­try. This can­not be con­fused with im­mi­gra­tion,” said Som Mit­tal, for­mer pres­i­dent of Nass­com.

“In­dian IT is at the heart of some of the most so­phis­ti­cated prod­ucts and plat­forms launched across the world. It is re­spected and revered for the same," said Vi­neet Nayar, for­mer CEO of HCL Tech- nolo­gies. “Peo­ple may see this in­dus­try from dif­fer­ent lenses. How­ever, I strongly be­lieve in our tal­ented young who are mak­ing this world a bet­ter place to live each day, not be­cause of where they work but be­cause of what they do,” he said.

Some in­dus­try in­sid­ers who did not wish to be iden­ti­fied said Murthy’s com­ments were “ter­ri­ble tim­ing,” given the dis­con­tent in the US against the al­leged mis­use of H-1B visas used for the trans­fer of skilled work­ers to that coun­try, the IT in­dus­try’s largest mar­ket. “He said it in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity. And if you go by his state­ment, even In­fosys also should be do­ing the same. On the one hand, the gov­ern­ment is fil­ing an in­ter­na­tional com­plaint against the US over visas, and on the other, Mr Murthy say­ing this is very dis­ap­point­ing,” said one of the per­sons.

US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump and oth­ers have called for do­ing away with visas that al­low skilled work­ers to work in the US. The IT in­dus­try has been a ben­e­fi­ciary of H-1B visas.

“The IT ser­vices in­dus­try has al­ways wor­ried about the im­pact of each and ev­ery elec­tion on the visa is­sue. But the in­dus­try has also be­lieved that the US would never do any­thing to re­ally re­strict the visa. Murthy is say­ing, in­di­rectly, that this elec­tion is dif­fer­ent and the in­dus­try has to be pre­pared for a bad out­come,” Patrick Thi­bodeau, na­tional cor­re­spon­dent for Com­put­er­world in Wash­ing­ton, told ET.

US prez can­di­date Trump has called for do­ing away with visas that al­low skilled work­ers to work in US

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