Business Other News 05 Apr 2017 IT companies can sur ...

IT companies can survive visa curbs, says Nasscom

Published Apr 5, 2017, 12:29 am IST
Updated Apr 5, 2017, 12:45 am IST
The remaining 53,000  which goes for the lottery is for the rest of the world. Of this about 31,800 is allotted to India.
 The remaining 53,000 which goes for the lottery is for the rest of the world. Of this about 31,800 is allotted to India.

Bengaluru: The Indian IT industry body Nasscom on Tuesday said that the Donald Trump administration’s decision to tighten the rules governing H1B visa  could have a “little impact” on the Indian IT companies.

“The clarifying guidance should have little impact on Nasscom members as this has been the adjudicatory practice for years,” said Nasscom in a statement released on Tuesday.

However, the IT trade association also stated that its member companies have been providing skilled talent and solutions to the US companies. “The H-1B visa system exists specifically because of the persistent shortage of highly-skilled domestic IT talent in the US, and Nasscom member companies have and will continue to provide skilled talent and solutions to fill that gap and keep US companies competitive globally,” it said.

Mohandas Pai, the chairman of Manipal Global, said that the new policy will not affect Indian IT firms as the employees, who work in the US on H1-B visa, are qualified and meet the minimum requirements.

The policy memorandum has clarified that all computer programming jobs cannot be deemed as “Specialty Occupations”. The computer programmers with a degree of two year long duration will not be allowed to obtain H1-B visa.

This would bar diploma-level software programmers from availing an H-1B visa.
“Indian IT professionals are all qualified to work in the US as they have the skills and education qualifications required to take up specialty occupations in the US,” Mr Pai said.

If required, the IT companies could shift their base to Canada to service their American clients. Since Canada enjoy free trade with the US, there could little difficulty doing business with American companies.

Similarly, Indian companies may get a lot of offsource business as US companies seek to keep their costs in control.

While the Trump administration has threatened to withdraw subsidies for US companies, which outsource their work, the IT companies believe that the cost-benefit analysis would still favour shipping work to India.

As the new rules prefer an applicant, who is educated in the US on an associated bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, more people could enrol themselves for US universities.

Despite their optimism, the Indian IT companies operating in the United States could face headwinds as the US authorities made it clear about their intention to increase regulatory oversight.

The measures announced by DHS on Monday focus on site visits by U.S. authorities to employers who use H1B visas.

On Monday, the US Department of Homeland Security said that US Citizenship and Immigration Services agents will investigate incidents where an employer’s basic business information cannot be validated; businesses that have a high ratio of H1B employees compared with US workers; and employers petitioning for H1B workers who work off-site.

The US agency will focus especially on companies, which considered “H-1B dependent” or those employing 15 per cent or more of their work force are on H-1B visas.

These measures, however, have failed to earn appreciation for Mr Trump in his country as advocates for local employment criticised him for continuing with the lottery system for H1B visas for the current year. Mr Trump had promised to abolish the lottery system, but it was not implemented for this year.

Each year 65,000 of the visas are allotted by lottery, with another 20,000 going to foreign nationals who have an advanced degree from an American university.

“More oversight is a good start, but employers can still use the programme legally to depress wages and replace American workers. That falls short of the promises President Trump made to protect American workers,” Peter Robbio, a spokesman for Numbers USA, a Washington-based group that advocates for limiting immigration into the US, told Reuters.



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