Indian IT Firms Target Of Trump’s New Visa Curbs, Says Nasscom
The conditions on H-1B visas are unfair to India, says Nasscom chief.
The Trump administration’s proposed new rules to prevent extension of H-1B work visas in the U.S. are designed to hurt Indian software services companies.
That’s how IT lobby group Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar defined the proposed regulations in the U.S. They are “unprecedented” and involve “unacceptable intrusion” in the working space, he said. The proposal is being shared with the Department of Homeland Security Department, newswire agency PTI reported.
The move could prevent immigrant employees from staying in the U.S. while their green cards, or applications for permanent resident status, are pending, Nasscom chief said. More than 5 lakh Indians could lose jobs in the U.S., forcing them to return home, the Times of India reported.
H-1B visas allow U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in skilled jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise. Indian IT companies use them to send engineers for on-site jobs. The U.S. started clamping down on these visas last year to promote President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative. The visa requirement of Indian IT companies has since declined by half.
It was only natural as 70 percent of H-1B visas go to Indian nationals from information technology and other sectors, Chandrashekhar said. Conditions such as the hiring company cannot displace any worker during the entire period for which the visa has been issued and will have to abrogate the contract by notifying the U.S. authorities are unacceptable, he said.
All the proposed conditions are unprecedented which not only get into the innards of commercial undertaking, but also impinge on legally binding contracts.R Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom
An amendment proposing a new definition of ‘visa-dependent countries’, which are under the U.S. administration’s radar, may also hit Indian outsourcers. According to the previous definition, any company with over 15 percent of its workforce having visas would be termed as ‘visa dependent’. However, the proportion of workers on visas in the proposed bill has been increased to 20 percent, a direct attack on the Indian IT companies operating in the U.S., he said.
“The revision is aimed at keeping non-Indian companies outside the purview of this amendment,” said Chandrashekhar.
Trump wants companies to give preference to Americans while hiring. The proposed rules fail to serve that motive, Chandrashekhar said. “They only seem to make things tough for Indian workers.”