Published: Wed, February 01, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

India freaks out over United States plans to change high-skilled visas

India freaks out over United States plans to change high-skilled visas

Trump and senior members of his team have been clear that H-1B, which the president has said he used himself in his businesses, is being abused by U.S. firms to cut costs by outsourcing jobs to companies that bring in less expensive foreign workers, mostly from India. Lofgren's proposed legislation prioritises market-based quota of H-1B visas to firms willing to pay 200% of a fixed wage. These visas fill up pretty quickly and if the applications exceed the cap, a lottery system is used to allot them further.

"There is an overall need to look at all these programs and you will see that both through executive action and through comprehensive legislative measures a way to address immigration as a whole and the visa programmes", he said. At present, the minimum wage paid to an H1B holder is $60,000.

The foreign work visas were originally established to help United States companies recruit from overseas when they couldn't find qualified local workers. It would also establish wage requirements for L-1 workers and improve H-1B wage requirements to encourage companies to hire qualified American workers and prevent them from using foreign workers as a source of cheap labor.

Around 70% of H1B visas were given to workers from India, The New York Times reported in November 2015, citing the US Department of Homeland Security. "Thus, the real impact will be hard to pin down and would depend upon the time when it actually gets implemented, which according to us could take time", Kour Nangra said.

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The BSE IT index, which is a benchmark of IT stocks, fell over 4 per cent. Shares of outsourcing giant TCS fell 5.6 per cent, Tech Mahindra 9.7 per cent, HCL Tech 6.3 per cent, Infosys 4.6 per cent and Wipro 4.23 per cent. Trump had given a powerful shock to all the Indian IT Companies.

Some tech media websites, closely following the changes that the Trump Administration and the US Congress may bring about, speak of the possibility of a reversal of employment authorisation cards to spouses of H-1B workers, which was recently granted by the Obama Administration after a prolonged campaign. As per Greyhound Research estimates, upon this restructuring the average margin hit for an IT Services provider will be in the range of 5-10 percent year-on-year depending on the total base of employees now on H1-B, the existing compensation and need for onsite in near-term. The bill also requires DOL and DHS to share information so that visa petitions are effectively scrutinised. Many of these declines were the biggest these companies suffered in months.

Meanwhile, the heads of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Uber and several others had condemned voiced concerns over the executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump that bans nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., which they believe would affect their own employees working in the country.

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