T.V. Mohandas Pai, board member and director, human resources, Infosys, spoke to Outlook about the government’s new visa regulations and how they are impacting business.
Were you expecting changes in rules for hiring foreign nationals?
We had no warning. We met the home minister later, who said the changes are meant to curb unskilled labour immigration. But it hasn’t worked that way—everyone in business is being impacted. Highly skilled people are finding it impossible to come here.
Isn’t the limit—one per cent of the workforce—adequate?
While India asks other countries to raise quotas for Indians immigrants, it’s not right to impose individual quotas on companies here. It’s ridiculous. India should think of a national quota, on the lines of the h1b. Infosys needs to move professionals around freely; a quota that disregards company size is absolutely unreasonable.
Indian employees claim foreign nationals are paid disproportionately higher salaries. Your comment?
Indians working in other countries are also on “expatriate” salaries. That’s how it is: You hire expatriates on global salaries. But the changed regulations are not (an equaliser). They are simply on account of security concerns and over Chinese workers coming in to work here in large numbers on power projects.
How exactly is business being impacted?
It isn’t just that the procedure is more cumbersome, though it will be a challenge to renew the visas of our 100-strong expat employee force. I just got news that two employees coming for a project from Mauritius were denied visas. I don’t know what we’ll do! We’ll have to take it up with more paperwork, I suppose. It is an unnecessary procedure. Infosys doesn’t bring in unskilled labour, why should our applications be rejected?