A war of words has broken out between India’s most powerful lobby of IT & ITeS companies, and US Govt. over the ongoing H-1B visa row.
Last week, in a press statement, US Govt. had accused leading Indian IT companies of misusing H-1B visa lottery system and resorting to unfair practices to garner maximum work visas.
TCS, Infosys and Cognizant were specially mentioned in the press release issued by White House.
US Govt. said, “[S]o some companies oftentimes are called outsourcing firms. You may know their names well, but like the top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant — they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they’ll get the lion’s share of visas,”
In retaliation, Nasscom has dismissed these accusations against Indian IT companies, and have issued a point by point rebuttal.
Nasscom: Indian IT Firms Are Creating Jobs in the US, Not Cheating
In their hard-hitting reply, Nasscom has claimed that top 2 Indian firms, namely TCS and Infosys received only 8.8% of total H-1B visas allocated by the US Govt., thereby dismissing their allegations of ‘misusing’ the lottery system.
Nasscom said: “Of the six Indian IT companies, software majors TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) and Infosys received 7,504 H-1B visas in FY 2015, which is 8.8 percent of the total H-1B visas..”
Citing data from 2015, Nasscom said that Indian IT firms were among the top 20 entities which received H-1B visa in 2015; which means that they haven’t resorted to malpractice or cheating in any way.
Indian IT Firms Are Paying More Than Average
The accusations by US Govt. also enlisted the issue of salary. One of the provisions under ‘Buy American, Hire American’ is the steep increase in minimum salary requirement for H-1B visa, which makes it almost impossible for a small company to hire people under this work visa.
US Govt. had said, “And those three companies are companies that have an average wage for H-1B visas between USD 60,000 and USD 65,000 (a year). By contrast, the median Silicon Valley software engineer’s wage is probably around USD 150,000,”
Responding to this allegation, Nasscom claimed that the average salary of an Indian H-1B visa holder in the US is $82,000, besides $15,000 cost incurred on each visa.
Nasscom said, “The average wage for visa holders is over 35 per cent higher than the minimum prescribed exempt wage of $60,000,”
Nasscom also pointed out the fact that US is right now experiencing an extreme shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) graduates, and their recent H-1B visa rules amendments will hit their IT industry hard.
Citing reports prepared by the US, Nasscom claimed that by 2018, there will be 2.4 million unfilled jobs in STEM, with 50% of the vacancies belonging to IT industry.
Highlighting the importance and relevance of Indian workers in the US, Nasscom said, “Indian IT firms account for less than 20 percent of the H-1B visas; although Indian nationals get 71 percent of them, testifying their high skill levels, especially in the very coveted STEM skills category,”
Indian Govt. is right now holding talks with US Govt. regarding stricter H-1B visa rules, and reminding them about free market principles and their impact on the market.