Category Archives: Jobs

US to provide 15,000 additional visas for seasonal workers due to shortage of labour

us-announces-15000-additional-visas-for-seasonal-workersWASHINGTON : The US government has cleared the way for thousands more foreign workers to enter the country under temporary seasonal visas. The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the government will allow 15,000 additional visas for temporary seasonal workers to help American businesses in danger because of a shortage of labour.
Federal officials said there are not enough qualified and willing American workers available to perform certain types of temporary nonagricultural work. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation to kick off the “Made in America” week and urged the public to pay respect to those Americans who work to make the country great.
Trump stressed that under his America First policies he will work to renegotiate what he calls unfair trade deals. He said, the government will stand up for American companies and American workers.

Indian Workers On Gulf Crisis : ‘No More Jobs In Qatar’

Gulf-crisisDOHA (Qatar) :  Ajit, an Indian electrician, is just seven months into his new job but right now he is a worried man, like many other members of the huge migrant workforce in Qatar. He frets not only about his job, his future in the country but also the price of food.

“If this continues, there will be problems for people like us, the workers. The price of food will go up and there will be no jobs,” he told AFP. He was referring to the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf that has seen Qatar isolated after regional giant Saudi Arabia and several allied countries cut all ties to Doha.

Ajit earns 1,000 riyals a month ($275, 240 euros), of which he sends 600 home to his family. He worries he won’t be able to do that for much longer.”In some supermarkets, the price of rice, tomatoes and onions has increased,” he said. “Where I was spending one riyal on each item, now it is double that.”Ajit has come up with a solution to cope with the rising food prices in Doha — cut down to just one meal a day.
‘Maybe send us home’
The 31-year-old is typical of the nervous migrant workforce.As the crisis imploded, discussion has largely focused on the political and security aspects of the row between some of the globe’s richest countries in one of the world’s most volatile regions. But outside the corridors of power, it is Qatar’s foreign workforce – totalling more than two million, mostly from south Asia — who are on the frontline when it comes to the immediate impact of the crisis.
While Qatar’s Western expats are likely to ride out the economic impact, there is no such luxury for Ajit and his colleagues. The rising price of staple foods is just one of their fears. Concerns are also growing about job security and the lack of much-needed overtime as economic uncertainty grows, due to what Doha has labelled the “blockade” imposed by neighbouring countries.”I have heard people saying there will be no more jobs in Qatar,” added Ajit.
A short distance away stood Anil, a 32-year-old scaffolder from Bangladesh, in blue overalls and a purple face-cover to shield from the fierce summer sun. He was resting after a morning of labour in heat of 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) in the rundown Doha suburb of Mshereib that is being transformed into a gleaming cafe, hotel and business area ready for the 2022 football World Cup.

“Everybody is talking about this problem (the crisis),” said Anil, 32. “Some people are saying they may send us home.”In just one week since Qatar was cut off, Anil said the price of the apples he buys has more than doubled, from seven to 18 riyals per kilo (two pounds).Bad timing”I’ve heard Qatar is supporting terrorists and that’s why they’ve been blockaded,” said Abdulbariq, 38, an electrician.

The Bangladeshi uses the money he earns — 820 riyals a month — to send his two daughters to school in India.”This will affect them,” he fears.The Gulf crisis could not have hit the workforce at a worse time.Because of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, working hours have already been reduced and there is no chance to make up any shortfall through overtime. That though is only a temporary measure.
Although Qatari officials have, so far, confidently shrugged off the economic impact of isolation, that view is not shared on the country’s many construction sites.

“I have a father, brother, mother and sisters to look after, I send home 1,500 riyals a month,” said Noor-ul-Islam, a 26-year-old mason from Bangladesh.”Definitely there will be problems for my family if this crisis continues.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

IT workforce with 480,000 jobs at risk by 2021

M_Id_458674_Indian_IT_industryMUMBAI: Experienced techie Raghu Narayanaswamy lost his job recently and fears he may not get another, as analysts warn of massive layoffs across the country’s multi-billion-dollar information technology sector.
IT outsourcing has long been one of India’s flagship industries but experts say automation, a failure to keep up with new technologies and US President Donald Trump’s clampdown on visas is creating industry-wide upheaval.
Business papers and analysts have reported that major IT firms are gradually laying off thousands of staff while research has claimed that hundreds of thousands of jobs could disappear in the next four years, although the companies themselves have refused to comment on numbers.

Narayanaswamy was caught up in the turmoil in March when he was let go from one of India’s top IT companies after 11 years of service. He says his future prospects appear bleak.”I have been finding it extremely difficult to find a job these past few months,” the 40-year-old, who is based in Mumbai, told news agency AFP.
India’s IT sector boomed for more than two decades as Western companies subcontracted work to firms like Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra, taking advantage of their skilled English-speaking workforce.The industry employs nearly four million Indians and rakes in revenues of more than $150 billion, according to the trade body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

While Nasscom is bullish about the future for India’s tech titans, HfS Research, a US-based business advisory firm, estimates automation could mean a 14 per cent decline in India’s IT workforce with 480,000 jobs at risk by 2021. That’s a worrying prospect for the hundreds of thousands of aspiring engineers at India’s IT colleges.
Although layoffs are not uncommon in the industry, particularly in the final quarter of the financial year, union chiefs say staffs are being made redundant in unprecedented numbers this year as firms deal with narrowing profits.”Companies are unwilling to talk about the layoffs or how many techies have been served notice to leave as part of their annual appraisal,” said JSR Prasad, chairman of the National Confederation of Unions of IT Employees.
India’s top IT companies have been complaining for a while about the difficulty of picking up new clients as businesses explore automation, robotics and innovative technologies such as cloud computing.So analysts say it should come as little surprise if some are now streamlining operations.

“These changes pertaining to mass layoffs and downsizing have been due for some time and the current chain of events globally have accelerated them,” said D.D. Mishra at technology research company Gartner.Nasscom this month dismissed widespread reports, including in respected Indian newspapers like The Economic Times, Mint and Business Standard, of thousands of layoffs but conceded that the rate of hiring was slowing.
It predicted that up to three million new IT positions would be added by 2025 but warned that the industry must reinvent itself to help companies keep up with demand for more innovative technologies.
Kris Lakshmikanth, chairman of Bangalore-based recruitment firm The Headhunters, told AFP the task is huge with around 60 per cent of India’s four million techies needing to be retrained.

Wipro and Tech Mahindra told AFP that they have retraining programmes but refused to comment on the number of layoffs, saying it was standard practice for employees to lose their jobs if they failed to meet expectations.
Analysts are already pessimistic about the potential effect of Trump’s curbs on H-1B visas, which India’s IT sector uses to send thousands of highly skilled engineers to America every year. “There is a big tsunami that will affect between 150,000 and 200,000 Indian IT professionals and will continue for a long time until the industry stabilises,” Lakshmikanth said of the challenges facing the sector.MUMBAI:

Trump’s Attorney General promises curbs on H1B visas

h1bWASHINGTON : US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the post of Attorney General has assured lawmakers of taking steps towards pushing legislative measures to curb misuse of H-1B and L1 work visas significantly used by Indian IT professionals and allegedly replace American workers.
“It’s simply wrong to think that we’re in a totally open world and that any American with a job can be replaced if somebody in the world is willing to take a job for less pay,” Senator Jeff Sessions told members of Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing for the position of US Attorney General.
“We have borders. We have a commitment to our citizens and you have been a champion of that. I’ve been honoured to work with you on it,” Sessions said in response to a question from Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the past both Sessions and Grassley have worked together to bring legislations on H-1B visas that badly hit Indian IT companies.
The Office of Special Counsel for immigration related unfair employment practices is an office within the Justice Department which would be headed by Sessions if he is confirmed by the US Senate.
The Office enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”While the office is designed to protect foreign nationals with employment visas from discrimination, it is also charged with ensuring that American workers are not discriminated against in the workplace.

Many US workers advocate that the layoff of American workers and the replacement by cheaper, foreign, H-1B workers constitutes de facto nationality based discrimination against American workers,” Grassley said.
“The Obama administration has failed to protect American workers here. Will you, this is my question, will you be more aggressive in investigating the abuses of these visa programmes?” he asked.”I believe this has been an abuse. And I have been pleased to support your legislation and some others too, that others have produced that I believe could be helpful. It needs to be addressed,” Sessions said.

Describing Sessions as a vocal champion for American workers, Grassley said many American workers are being laid off and replaced by cheaper foreign labour imported through some of the US visa programmes.
Sessions, Grassley and Senator Dick Durbin in the past had co-sponsored a bill that would reform H-1B visa programmes by ensuring that qualified American workers are considered for high skilled job opportunities before those jobs can be offered to foreign nationals.
“It also prohibit a company from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B or L-1 visa holders,” he said.

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