From Hamburgers to Sushi

by CXOtoday Correspondent    Sep 20, 2003

While the US government has succumbed to pressure on its H-1B visa programme lowering the annual limit for foreigners working in the US, new opportunities are opening up closer home.

The largest, controversy plaguing the IT employment industry worldwide is the policy of the US government on the H-1B visas issued to workers in the technology industry. The number of H-1B visas issued to workers dropped by about 75% in 02, according to a report published by the Department of Homeland Security.

On the other hand with the increase in demand for embedded software solutions, Japan is openings its doors to IT professionals and India is high on the list of recruiters.

According to Kazuhiko Nishida, director of I-POC, “Japan needs about 3 lakh IT engineers for its flourishing telecom and consumer electronics industry. Indians are strong in embedded technology. Another big plus is that they are proficient in English and can adapt themselves easily to new technology, mostly developed in the US. This gives them an edge over the Chinese and other Asians. These professionals get between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh a month,”

I-POC is a placement company that trains Indian techies in Japanese and hires them for projects in that country.

Right now, about 1,500 Indians work in Japan. “But this figure is bound to jump in the next few years, Nishida said. The company plans to send 200 more such professionals in the next two years in view of the “growing demand for Indians” in Japan.

“A significant portion of IT projects would be outsourced in future and this would also lead to the creation of new jobs in India with the setting up of offshore development centres,” he added.

Of late, the H-1B programme has attracted much criticism, given the high unemployment rates in US. Opponents argue that US workers are losing jobs because companies are hiring less-expensive foreign workers. Reports said that between 00 and 02, the number of H-1B workers sponsored by Intel dropped 60%.

With the H-1B visa programme, scheduled for a further reduction in annual limits on October 1st. Indian Techies will certainly welcome the Japanese option.