Non-Indian IT firms use 50 per cent H-1B visas allotted

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARCHAK SENGUPTA
Published Apr 21, 2017, 3:01 am IST
Updated Apr 21, 2017, 4:04 am IST
Nasscom worried about use of ‘visa-dependent Indian firms’ in US.
A top Nasscom official on Wednesday said that almost 50 per cent of the H-1B visas that are awarded to Indians aren’t used by the Indian IT firms
 A top Nasscom official on Wednesday said that almost 50 per cent of the H-1B visas that are awarded to Indians aren’t used by the Indian IT firms

Hyderabad: A top Nasscom official on Wednesday said that almost 50 per cent of the H-1B visas that are awarded to Indians aren’t used by the Indian IT firms but rather it’s used by non-Indian firms for US projects. Speaking at the Nasscom Global In-house Centre event, Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said, “If one looks at the US data, one can notice that around 70 per cent of H-1B visa are awarded to Indians. Out of it, only 20 per cent is used by Indian IT firms, rest is used by others. There is a lot of myth that the entire H-1B visas allocated to Indians are being used by the Indian IT firms. And currently, this confusion is being used to frame policies”

Mr Chandrashekhar, though, sounded worried about the term ‘visa-dependent firms’ that has been used by the US. He said, “Indian-IT firms don’t have the legacy like the traditional US-based firms. It’ll be difficult for Indian IT firms with the 15 per cent limit.” On stricter visa issue in other countries also, Mr Chandrashekhar said, “There is a rise in protectionist measures and anti-globalisation sentiments but skilled talents will always be in demand. The only issue is the definition of skilled talent.”

He added, “Indian IT firms might be forced to relook at their ASEAN plans after Singapore stopped issuing a work visa. Just like foreign firms are relooking at their EU operation following Brexit, Indian IT firms will need to rework their strategy.” On their quarterly assessment prediction, the Nasscom president said that the body is likely to release it in late May or early June.

Meanwhile, former Infosys chief financial officer V. Balakrishnan said that the tightening work visa rules in overseas markets will force India's IT industry to reconfigure the business model by increasing offshoring work and hiring locally. Mr Balakrishnan also said that the hiring in the I-T sector would dip further due to growth in automation. “But I think in the long-term, they (Indian IT firms) have to change the business model to do more offshoring because if you take any project today, around 30 per cent work is done outside India, 70 per cent in India. That ratio can be easily brought to 90:10 where you do less work onsite, more offshore,” Balakrishnan told PTI.

ComMin asks WTO to Frame service Norms:

With US and Australia raising trade barriers by making its difficult for Indian IT workers to get visa, country is now pushing for a WTO-backed global framework to facilitate services trade. Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said  on Thursday that countries are now very clearly raising protectionist walls as regards service trade.

“And it is time that we have a global framework within which trade in services can happen. We will be actively pursuing our proposal in the WTO,” said the minister. India had put a concept paper for trade facilitation in services on 6 October at WTO. Trade facilitation in services  will cover discrepancies in trade in services as well as procedural and administrative issues and principles that apply to all.

Services sector contributes over 60 per cent to the Indian GDP and 28 per cent to total employment. TFS will focus on issues like liberalised visa regime, long-term visas for business community and freer movement of professionals for the greater benefit of both India and the world, among others. On new rules on H1B visa signed by US president Donald Trump, Ms Sitharaman said that finance minister, who is in the US, would take up the matter with the US administration.

The minister said that her ministry is in touch with the Indian industry on visa issues, which Assocham has said will hit jobs in the country. "It is not just the US, but several countries now adopting such measures," she said. The minister said India would engage with these countries to sort out the visa related matters. She also said that at this stage, India will engage constructively with these countries. “At the same time, India will ensure that it will not accept unfair treatment,” the minister added.


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