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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

23 September 2003

Indian H1B Visas?? !! :-)

You have heard about the Call Centre training. The trainees are trained in various details on foreign countries – the geography, the culture and so on - and often they are taught various regional accents too. So the customer agent taking a call from Italy may talk English with an Italian accent, speaking from India though. OK. Now what if you hire an Italian for the job?

This, if we go by a story in Business World this week, seems to be the emerging trend. BPO operations in India are increasingly employing foreign national working in Indian salaries. And one of the professional interviewed views her Indian experience will add up to her CV. As India emerges as global BPO hub, global BPO professionals are increasingly looking at India as the cutting edge technology destination to hone their skills.

Particularly in Travel industry, the Destination Knowledge seems to be an area where the foreign professionals score over locals. “ What is the difference between Madrid and Barcelona? While going over to either place what should the tourist look for? Nothing like having a homegrown person handling the work. Also, car hire is big business in Europe and fumbling with differences between a coupe and a sports car could well mean loss of a client.”

Well. So in another few years there is going to be a beeline for Indian “ H1B” (??!!) visas at Indian missions abroad?? !!

In the meantime there is another story – not exactly related, but there is a link I want to highlight – in ET today about Chinese learning English. This is a phenomenon I was discussing with some of my friends few years ago. We were talking about how India has an edge in IT over other Asian countries since our facility in English. We were talking about China and Philippines as our rivals trying to catch up fast in capturing the IT global pie. But one stumbling for them was the Language, English being the lingua franca of IT world. At the same time we were discussing also how these countries can easily catch up with learning English and out do us in the race.

Now, this story is an indication of what lies ahead for us in competition for the global IT market.


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