Hyderabad: Tech firms rush to cut US visa weight

A company is visa dependent if 50% of staff are H-1B visa holders.

Hyderabad: The Indian IT sector is particularly worried about newly-elected US President Donald Trump and his policy on jobs and immigration. Experts say there is a general uncertainty in the sector and clarity is likely to emerge in the next few days.

But, Indian tech firms are now focusing on not being visa dependent. If any firm, with at least 50 staff, has 50 per cent of H-1B employees on its rolls, then it is a visa-dependent firm.

With indications that the new US administration is likely to come down heavily on visa-dependent companies, Indian tech, especially the software giants, are looking at ways to shift.

According to B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, the former chairman of NASSCOM, software firms will now have to recruit more number of locals from colleges in the US. He said his company, Cyient, has 1,600 employees working in US out of which only 23 per cent are H-1(B) visa holders. The rest are US nationals. Most of the mid-sized firms are not visa dependent. But that’s not the same for big IT giants, he said.

US senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban have said they will be introducing a legislation to tighten H-1B visa laws so that the best students, educated in the US, receive the same opportunity as skilled foreign workers.

Experts also feel a hike in H-1B fees and rise of minimum pay to $100,000 per annum, from the existing $60,000, is likely to impact Indian IT. Every year, nearly 20,000 techies go from India to the US on the H-1B visa — out of which one-fourth are from both the Telugu states.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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