Sun Microsystems has been issued with a lawsuit alleging that it laid off thousands of older US workers to replace them with lower-paid IT staff from India.
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The allegation highlights international concerns over visa quotas for foreign IT workers. In the US, the federal government's H-1B Visa programme allows companies to import foreign workers on a temporary basis.
The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, claimed that Sun had an "institutional bias" in favour of Indian workers. It also alleged that the computer services company was applying for new H-1B visas as it was moving to lay off US workers.
Sun yesterday said it would not comment until it had reviewed the lawsuit, according to reports. A Sun spokeswoman added that it has always followed federal guidelines that control the number of H1-B visas companies can obtain.
In the UK, government plans announced last year to increase the fast-track visas issued to foreign IT workers met with strong opposition from IT contractors.