Read 'body shops' for 'chop shops', says senator | business | Hindustan Times
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Read 'body shops' for 'chop shops', says senator

US Senator Charles Schumer, the prime mover behind the controversial law to hike worker visa fees, has amended his remarks branding Indian IT firms like Infosys as "chop shops".

business Updated: Aug 14, 2010 12:16 IST

US Senator Charles Schumer, the prime mover behind the controversial law to hike worker visa fees, has amended his remarks branding Indian IT firms like Infosys as "chop shops".

He meant to call them "body shops", which exploit cheap labour, not "chop shops" that break stolen cars to sell parts. Also the idea was not to target only Indian firms but all such companies be they from "Bangalore, Beijing, or Boston."

"I do want to clarify a previous remark which mischaracterised these firms where I labelled them as 'chop shops'," said the Democrat Senator from New York who flew in Thursday to get the bill to raise $600 million to secure US-Mexico border, passed by the senate with just fellow Democrat Benjamin Cardin from nearby Marland.

"That statement was incorrect, and I wish to acknowledge that. In the tech industry, these firms are known as 'body shops'. That is what I should have said, and that is what they are," Schumer said on the Senate floor.

"While I wholly oppose the manner in which these firms are using H-1B to accomplish objectives that Congress never intended, it would be unfortunate if anyone concluded from my remarks that these firms are engaging in illegal behaviour," he said.

"I also want to make clear that the purpose of this fee is not to target businesses from any particular country," Schumer said.

"Many news articles have reported that the only companies affected by this fee are companies based in India and that ipso facto the purpose of this legislation is to target Indian IT companies," he said dismissing the suggestion as simply untrue. "We are simply raising fees for businesses that use the H-1B visa to do things that are contrary to the programme's original intent, and that will be on any company from any country that does it," Schumer said.

"If they are using the H-1B visa to innovate new products and technologies that is a good thing, regardless of whether the company was originally founded in India, Ireland, or Indiana," Schumer said.

"But if they are using the H-1B visa to run a glorified international agency for tech workers in contravention of the spirit of this programme, I and my colleagues believe they should have to pay a higher fee."

This belief is consistent regardless of whether the company using these staffing practices was founded in Bangalore, Beijing, or Boston," Schumer said.