Daily Management Review

H1B Visa Threat Forces Indian IT Firms Planning a Visit to Meer Trump Officials


H1B Visa Threat Forces Indian IT Firms Planning a Visit to Meer Trump Officials
In order to lobby against any major changes to visa regulations that could hurt the country's $150 billion industry, Indian IT sector leaders will meet both U.S. lawmakers and officials from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration later this month.
While it is certain that the chief executives from some of India's big IT companies would be part of a delegation visiting Washington in the week of Feb. 20, details of the visit were still being finalised, said R. Chandrashekhar, head of Indian IT industry body Nasscom.
The costs for the Indian companies employing IT professionals would be dramatically increased by a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress seeking to double the salary paid to H-1B visa holders and the country’s software services industry is very concerned about that bill being introduced and subsequently passed and implemented.
While some opponents in the United States argue that the Indian IT companies are misusing the program to replace U.S. jobs, the H-1B visa system and program is used by the Indian IT service companies to fly engineers to the U.S. which is their biggest market so that they are able to service U.S. clients.
The long standing problem of a U.S. labor shortage in the tech sector would not be solved and that some of the the members of Nasscom are being unfairly targeted by a bill, introduced last month by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California,, the Indian IT body warned earlier in the week.
The "the economic partnership that is being built between the two countries" would also be sought to be emphasized by the visit of the representatives of the Indian IT industry, Chandrashekhar said.
As customers delayed spending ahead of the U.S. presidential election, India's IT firms, led by Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro, have seen growth slow in 2016.
Last month there were reports in the media that the the Indian IT players were planning to make a renewed push on automation to counter the regulatory threat and to speed up local hiring and the acquisition of U.S. firms with bigger local workforces.
"Immigration concerns were a risk item, always there, but they are more pronounced now," said a senior executive at L&T Technology Services, who declined to be named.
The shares in IT companies tumbling this week were severely hit due to speculation that Trump may issue an executive order curbing the H-1B program.
While another engineer working for Cisco in North Carolina said management had called in an immigration attorney to reassure employees, an Indian consultant working for Infosys in the U.S. said many of his colleagues were "dejected".
Concerns about the issue have been expressed by the Indian government to the U.S. External Affairs ministry, said India's Ministry of External Affairs.
"No executive order has been signed so far," Vikas Swarup, a spokesman for the ministry told reporters on Thursday. "Such bills have been introduced in the past too and such bills have to go through the full Congressional process. So let's not prejudge the outcome."

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