H-1B Visa Ban: Infosys Says No Impact In India; LWP For 13,000 US Govt Employees

H-1B Visa Ban: Infosys Says No Impact In India; LWP For 13,000 US Govt Employees
H-1B Visa Ban: Infosys Says No Impact In India; LWP For 13,000 US Govt Employees

The US President, Donald Trump has announced a temporary ban on all the work visa programs and issue of green cards till the end of 2020. Experts say the measures will hurt the economy.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on June 24 that it was preparing to furlough nearly 70% of its workforce unless it received fresh funding. This move employees say could bring an already backlogged system to a virtual halt.

However, Infosys believes that this temporary ban is predicted to have a minimal effect on the IT industry

Read on to find out more…

Around 13,000 USCIS Employees Will Be Furloughed!

Republican President Donald Trump has made curbing legal and illegal immigration a centerpiece of his 2020 re-election campaign. 

The official announcement by the White House said, “The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L non-immigrant visa programs, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The new regulations and a series of executive actions, along with travel restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have drastically reduced the number of immigrants coming to the United States.

The US agency in charge of processing immigration applications, USCIS, is dependent on the fees from new immigration applications for its operations and is facing a historic budget shortfall.

A USCIS spokesperson said in a statement that the agency has already seen a 50% drop in fees since March when most travel and immigration stopped as countries moved to country-wide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. 

To avoid the projected staff reductions, USCIS has asked for a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress.

The USCIS spokesperson’s statement said, “On or before July 2, approximately 13,400 USCIS employees will receive notice that if USCIS must proceed with an administrative furlough, they would be furloughed beginning August 3.”

The implementation of the furloughs, “will for sure cause noticeable delays immediately,” said one USCIS employee who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the record. “There are already so many backlogs to work through. It’s insane to even contemplate how bad this is going to get.”

The staff of the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations wing of USCIS was informed in an email seen by Reuters that notices were being sent on July 24 and 25 to approximately 1,500 employees of the 2,200 on staff in that unit. Those kept on would be a ‘skeleton crew’ to ‘keep the lights on,’ the email said.

H-1B Visa Ban Will Have Minimal Impact on the IT Industry!

Infosys Chief Operating Officer (COO) UB Pravin Rao said that the impact of H-1B visa ban will be minimal in the near term future. 

IT companies that earlier relied on the H-1B visa program have already de-risked their business models. The mobility of skilled talent is still important over the medium to long term. 

Rao said, “Not just Indian IT companies, it prevents thousands of corporations from accessing critical talent overseas. It is short-sighted, the tech unemployment in the US is only 2.8%. In the short term, it would have been difficult to send talent anyway, given all the restrictions. Companies have demonstrated resilience and are working successfully. But as the new normal emerges, you want access to talent closer home, you have a need for talent in the office. Tech skills are important in economic recovery.”

Rao is also the chairman of Nasscom. He remains hopeful that the Trump administration will shorten the duration of suspension to 90 days instead of 6 months. 

Leading tech majors such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter have said that they are disappointed with this move.

The decision will change the onsite-offshore model in the short-term. But considering the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have been difficult to send the skilled resources anyway. Companies need skilled techies in the recovering economy, and they should be okay with these resources working remotely.

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