H-1B Visas Proposed To Be Reduced By 15,000, Indian IT Industry to Suffer
A bill has been proposed in US, which can reduce the total number of H1B visas by 15,000. Considering that the bill is being supported by both Republican and Democratic parties, the probability of its approval is more positive than negative.
If this bill is passed by US Senate, then the total number of H1B visas issued to Indians will come down drastically to 70,000 from the 85,000 right now.
At a time when globalization has propelled Indian IT Services to grow at 15% last year to reach $82 billion, this is indeed bad news for the industry.
This current bill has been proposed by US senators Bill Nelson (Democrat) and Jeff Sessions (Republican). As per details available, the bill proposes that highest wage earners be granted visas more prominently, thereby stopping low wage earners from coming into US.
Interestingly, Nelson comes from Florida, where Disney recently fired 250 employees, and blamed outsourcing for this firing. Local pressure against Indian IT companies is forcing politicians to act against H-1B visa, and this can sound trouble for Indian employees.
Nasscom has come out heavily against this new bill proposal, and have said that US is undoubtedly going for ‘protectionism’ policy, which will severely harm the industry.
Intense lobbying from Nasscom has already started, as facts and figures about Indian IT company’s contribution to the US is being highlighted.
Shivendra Singh, vice president at the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) said, “Very clearly, we see that there is a move to protectionism which is coming out of the US. Whether it works out or not is a different issue altogether. But it does lead to creating a fair amount of news across and among various stakeholders, which is also to the detriment of our companies.”
As per Nasscom, Indian IT firms collectively paid $22.5 billion in revenues to US Treasury between 2011 and 2013; meanwhile supporting 4,11,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. Out of this, 3,00,000 jobs went to US citizens.
Indian IT Companies Are Alarmed But Not Worried
Indian IT companies which are most active in hiring and sending H1-B visa holders are no doubt alarmed, but they are not worried as this bill will take some time for getting passed.
Ganesh Natarajan, CEO of Zensar Technologies said, “There is no immediate threat of this bill going through and it’s not going to happen during an election year. However, it’s a clear trend that the industry needs to wake up to.”
There has been no immediate reaction from TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and HC, which are the top 5 IT Services companies in India.
With US Presidential elections on 2016, politicians in the US are leaving no stone unturned to project a positive image of themselves infront of the local population, which are anyways scared from terms like ‘Bangalored’ and ‘Outsourcing’.
Last month, senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin had proposed a bill which asked to stop all companies from hiring H-1B visa holder if that company has more than 50 employees, and if 50% of them are H-1B and L-1 visa holders. If this particular bill is passed, then IT industry will have to completely stop hiring H-1B visa holders.
We will keep you updated as more details come in.