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Govt to provide escort visa service to IT firms
Fakir Chand in Bangalore |
April 01, 2003 17:11 IST
The Union government will provide 'escort services' to guide and regulate Indian infotech firms to help them strictly comply with the visa procedures of other countries where their employees are sent for onsite work.
Disclosing this in Bangalore on Tuesday, IT Minister Arun Shourie said the ministry would devise a method in association with Nasscom to ensure that Indian IT firms were familiar with the visa rules of other countries, which differ from each country.
"The escort service will not only familiarise the firms with the latest visa procedures of each country in consultation with the external affairs ministry, but also prevent the recurring menace of Indian techies being detained or sent back for violating the norms of such countries," Shourie declared.
Referring to the recent incident of i-flex employees being sent home from the Netherlands on grounds of flouting the visa norms, Shourie said the proposed escort service would include forms to be filled in, and detailed rules/regulations governing the visa processes of different countries.
"When I'd referred the issue with Wipro czar Azim Premji for a way out, he advised that Indian IT firms should first scrupulously follow the visa norms of other countries and comply with the legal requirements of the collaborating company."
"Secondly, the Indian IT firms should work closely with their customers to ensure that their onsite or offshore work does not get affected because of such actions by their respective countries," he said.
"It is these overseas customers who are gaining from the work of Indian professionals. In the end, they will be able to impress upon their governments on the merits of hiring Indian techies for their software services," Shourie said.
"If these countries do not avail of the services of Indian engineers, they will be harming their own competitiveness as well as of their companies," he added.
Admitting that the supremacy of India in software was bound to create backlash in other countries as it would have an impact on their local jobs, Shourie said the Indian IT firms should be sensitive to these issues, and at the same time, compete with others to offer their services.
Asked whether India should strengthen its stand on services in the next round of WTO talks to address the backlash issue, Shourie said India would have to bargain hard to stress the country's advantage.
Cautioning the media against jumping to conclusions and casting aspersions on all IT firms, Shourie clarified that the IT-related incidents in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Netherlands were entirely different.
"The Malaysian government had regretted the incident involving the rounding up of Indian techies with valid visa documents by its police. The Bangkok issue was related to contractual obligations between a bank customer and Indian IT firm (Polaris), whereas the Netherlands case pertain to the visa procedures followed by i-flex in sending its engineers on work," Shourie recalled.
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