Hyderabad: H1B rules curb body shopping

Policy seeks detailed info from client co.

Hyderabad: The new H1B policy guidance introduced by the US government, which seeks detailed information about the employment of those applying for this visa, will put an end to ‘body shopping’ companies that have been abusing the system.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in its memo dated February 22, “Employers must provide contracts and itineraries for employees who will work at a third-party location.”

This means a person applying for this visa, or seeking an extension, must provide evidence of actual work assignments in the form of technical documentation, detailed statement of work and letter from the client company.

Body shopping companies recruit workers and then contract them out on a short-term basis. These companies often call themselves ‘consultants’ or ‘consultancy companies’.

On paper they claim that they offer software services, but in fact they provide professionals to overseas companies, often by falsifying the experience of the applicants. Consultancies in the course of the visa filing process, in the visa documentation state that they gave a job offer to the person without citing exact details of the project or client.

Once the employee is in the US, even though he/she is on the payroll of the consultancy, s/he works for different clients, having got the job by showing inaccurate job experience on the resume.

Previously the consultancy did not have to review third-party (end client) contracts and documents, but now they will have to collect contracts, itineraries, and other documents detailing the nature and duration of the third-party work.

Subhakar Alapati, director of Global Tree Overseas Education and Immigration Consultant, Hyderabad, said that the memo will not impact genuine workers “but there will be at least 60-70 per cent impact on consultancies because they have to provide details of the third-party company as the US authorities are coming down heavily on them.”

He said there used to be many such consultancies in Hyderabad, but now there are a very few. “However, there are many Indian consultancies in the US, which are initiating the H1B process from the US itself for job seekers in India by sending offer letters. Such body shopping firms are high in number only in the US; in other countries like Australia or Canada people do not rely on consultancies,” he said.

Large Indian IT companies such as Infosys and Wipro have projects in specific American cities to meet the needs of specific clients. Consultants come into the picture when there is no on-job role and yet the person wants to go.

Focus on studies not saving money

Lakhs of Indian students go to the US to study but not all of them are academically brilliant. In the US, Indian students tend to rely on consultancies or consultants to find them jobs by faking their experience on their resumes once they have graduated.

The new H1B rules won’t affect students wanting to study in the US, but it is no longer going to be a cake walk afterwards. Students go to the US on F1 visa and they have Optional Practical Training (OPT) which is valid for three years.

During the course of OPT, students tend to find jobs and eventually apply for H1B visas. H1B has additional quota of 20,000 exclusively for students who study in the US.

Subhakar Alapati, director of Global Tree, said, “During OPT they have to apply for jobs, try to reach out to employers and get the job. Employers are very particular about skills. The trend is that the students do not want to try that hard and since it is easy to go through consultants, they tend to go that way. Because of this, students will face issues.”

Qualification is just an entry; what is really required is knowledge of the subject.
Mr Alapati said that now students must have the right skills to get the job. They have to complete their assignments regularly instead of getting it done by others.

The mindset is to go abroad, do part time jobs and save as much money as possible during five-year duration.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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