“Hello Sunny. This is Yuvraj calling with Indian IT Company. I am calling you today regarding an excellent job opportunity in the IT industry. Do you have to few minutes to talk?” These are the first few lines that you’ll hear when any recruiter from an Indian IT consulting firm calls you to make an unsolicited job offer. If you are an international student and have an even remotely sounding Indian name and are in your Junior or Senior year, you will no doubt have received plenty of calls of the sort mentioned above. So did you get all excited after getting such a call? Who knew getting a job in the United States was so easy. What? $50,000 to $55,00 per year! No prior IT/programming experience necessary! H1B and green card sponsorship! Where do I sign up? This is too good to be true! Hold on. Before you sign up there is something you should know. Read on to know why so many Indian IT consulting firms have sprung up in recent years in cities like New York, New Jersey, Atlanta and Los Angeles and how these companies are exploiting international students through the faulty US immigration system.
These IT consulting firms are mostly based out the tri-state region with a few scattered in cities with significant desi (people of Indian origin) populations. They have a handful of employees working in their US offices with the majority of their staff located in India. The companies collect information on international students from the career services department of various US universities. Their recruiters located in India then call up international students with job offers in IT. Students are qualified no matter what their GPA or major is. The recruiters promise salaries in excess of $50,000 per year and sponsorship for H1B and greencard. The IT firm promises to train students on technologies such as Java, .Net, SQL, SAP, data warehousing, Quality Analysis, Business Analysis, etc and then place them in jobs within Fortune 500 companies. Whats more surprising is that these companies guarantee to do all this within two months, even with students that have had absolutely no education in IT/computers. With the US economy at one of its lowest points in a number of years and the job prospects for any new grad getting bleaker by the day, it does not take long for these recruiters to sign up international students to join their company. The recent rule change in OPT that states that international students cannot be unemployed for more than three months while on OPT further helps drive international students looking for jobs to these companies.
Training at one of these companies is a joke. When you walk in you’ll be handed books to study on your own. In most cases someone in India will train you for 30 minutes to an hour everyday through video conferencing. Although this person will be a whiz at Java, SQL, .Net or whatever else that you’ve signed up for, his English will be very limited, thereby making communication very difficult. You’ll be left to your own devices to learn as best as you can using books and the internet. You’ll have relocated by this time to whichever city the consulting firm is located in; which is New Jersey in 90% of the cases. The company will provide you with a room in a guest house which you will be sharing with 6 other consultants and scores of mice and roaches. One positive thing about training at one of these firms is that it is paid by the hour. Expect to be paid anywhere between $7 to $10. However, you will only be paid if your OPT has begun.
Once the company determines through exams that you’ve completed your training, they will start marketing your resume to other companies looking to hire IT personnel. How long you take to complete your training really depends on your educational background but it is never within two months as initially promised, even for someone with an IT background. In most cases it takes people five to six months to pass the tests set by the IT firms. Building your resume is where the expertise of your IT company comes in. They will prepare a fake resume for you which will list between five to eight years of experience in the technology that you’ve trained for. They will make you memorize the resume by heart so you can answer any questions related to it during an interview.
Now the next step to getting the job is the phone interview. Once a prospective employer sees your resume, they will want to set up a phone interview with you first. You will be trained on all likely questions before the interview. During the interview, your consulting firm will have people with you listening on to the phone interview. These people will quickly write down answers for you if you get stuck on any technical questions. With all this help, students usually make it through the phone interview after a few failed attempts.
After the prospective employer is satisfied with the phone interview, they will call you for a face to face interview. By this time, you are a very strong candidate and the face to face interview is only a formality.
One might be tempted to ask how these employees with spiced up resumes (no pun intended) do not get caught and continue to work in the industry. After all, they do not have the necessary skills to perform their job duties and surely are found out by their supervisors. I had the same question when I first learned about all this. So I spoke with some friends in the IT industry. I learned that any new employee, no matter how experienced, is not expected to perform right off the bat. They are given two weeks to a month to ease into their new positions. Also, any new IT project takes time to gather momentum. It is during this lull period that these fresh experienced IT consultants learn how to perform their jobs satisfactorily. They do this by mostly studying past projects of the company. This coupled with their training sees them through their first project. After they have successfully completed one project, they pretty much know all there is to know about their chosen technology.
Although at this point, the consultant has a job with a reputed company in the US, he is still formally employed by the Indian IT consulting firm. The firm takes a very large chunk out of the salary of their consultant. The reviews I’ve read about these companies and their practices in regard to paying their employees haven’t really been inspiring. You can read the reviews here and here.
I do not personally recommend taking this route to get a job as this is unethical and may also have legal consequences.
Do you have any experience in dealing with any of these IT consulting firms? Do you think what they are doing is ethical? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Full Disclaimer: ScholarshipForUSA or any of its writers do not endorse or engage in any of the practices mentioned in this article. The article has been written for informational purposes only. We respect all US laws (labor, immigration, etc) and ask you to do the same. ScholarshipForUSA or its’ writers cannot be held liable for any consequences that arise out of actions that you take after reading this article.