Indian techies, students in United States could face tough times

Wikimedia Commons

Ahead of the expected executive order, lawmakers have introduced legislation mandating an increase in the minimum salary for H-1B visa guest workers to $130,000 (from the current $60,000) in an effort to shut down low-priced arbitrage that both U.S. and Indian companies have used to improve their bottom line, but which critics say has depressed wages and come at the expense of American workers.

He said that most of the queries are from those who have completed three years in the U.S., after which an H1B visa extension is required, and those who are approaching the six-year period and are unsure about whether they will get a visa extension.

Now many of those companies and their workers are fretting for the expected changes to immigration policy under President Donald Trump that they believe could hurt their ability to tap the technical talent to stay competitive.

The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017, introduced in House of Representatives by California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, calls for doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000 from the current minimum wage of $60,000.

Nasscom, the Indian IT industry's trade body, in a statement pointed out, "The Lofgren Bill contains provisions that may prove challenging for the Indian IT sector and will also leave loopholes that will nullify the objective of saving American jobs".

"Since the rationale for the administration and the legislative wing is to protect job opportunities for Americans, our strong suggestion is that they should carefully calibrate the conditions keeping in mind the skill shortage in the US", Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said.

It prioritizes market-based quota of H1B visas to firms willing to pay 200% of a fixed remuneration.

In addition to satisfying the minimum wage requirements, the bill will also mandate that employers first try to hire a qualified American for the job before applying for an H-1B or L1 visa.

If the bill is actually passed, Indian IT companies would be among the worse hit.

Wondering what H1B visa is? We note that companies like Apple, Google pay much higher compared to Indian IT counterparts as they are product companies and recruit a much creamy skill set through H1B visas. "Hence, removal of random lottery and introduction of market-wage based criteria for shortlisting can be a serious risk in our view", Babu said.

But there seems to be a quiet confidence among Indian companies that there isn't a viable alternative to outsourcing offshore, since there aren't enough suitable staff available to be hired in the U.S. India's key outsourcers employ tens of thousands of staff, some of them hired from the country's top engineering colleges.

"India's interests and concerns have been conveyed both to the US Administration and the US Congress at senior levels", said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

"From the Indian companies' perspective, it could mean that the wage limit will have to be doubled, but from a USA company's point of view, it could mean that shortage of talent could be there".

The proposed new legislation mainly targets foreign companies based in the United States that bring in foreign employees on the visa quota.

Another alternative, as suggested by an analyst, is a move towards automation of software services. One direct and immediate impact if the new rules come into place would be rising costs for IT companies.

Several of these companies depend on USA projects that may take a hit from the revised H-1B rules.

Critics of the proposals say that they unfairly disadvantage both small companies and those operating in fields where most workers are not given six-figure salaries.

Related news:

Hot News

Airbnb: stranded refugees can stay with us for free
Jan 31, 2017 - 00:59
One company, Airbnb has taken the step of providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. The executive posted on Twitter asking those caught in the ban can contact him for urgent housing needs.

How Payet move to Marseille almost fell through
Jan 31, 2017 - 00:52
Payet had told West Ham he no longer wished to play for the club and was pushing to leave the London Stadium, with his heart set on returning to former club Marseille .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Here's What We Know About The Suspect In The Quebec Terror Attack
Jan 31, 2017 - 00:51
Choudry said all prayer services at Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at mosques will resume as normal despite "heightened security". Police arrested two suspects, including one who called 911 to say he was armed but ready to give himself up.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump set to move on Mexican border wall
Jan 31, 2017 - 00:50
Top Mexican political figures are debating how to fight back against USA president Donald Trump's aggressive stance on trade and immigration.

Google Used Its Homepage to Speak Out Against Trump's Muslim Ban
Jan 31, 2017 - 00:49
Fred Korematsu's conviction was overturned in 1983 after evidence came to light that disputed the necessity of the internment. But Monday was his first debut as a Google Doodle , according to his daughter, Karen Korematsu , the founder of the Fred T.

NY, US gasoline prices continue to fall
Jan 31, 2017 - 00:48
That's the third consecutive weekly decline, but compared with the same day past year , prices are 46.1 cents a gallon higher. Prices fell the most in OH (down 10.4 cents), MI (9.6 cents), IL (8.6 cents), in (8.2 cents) and DE (7.7 cents).

French Left picks presidential candidate as Socialist rebel faces ex-PM Valls
Jan 30, 2017 - 00:58
With 60% of the votes counted, the hard-left Mr Hamon was on 58%, compared to 41% for former prime minister Manuel Valls. "I would like to congratulate Benoit Hamon".

But Spurs snatch late victor against
Jan 29, 2017 - 01:00
Speaking after the game, Pochettino said: "They were much better than us in the first half - full credit to them". What we have done today puts a marker down of how far we've come.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jurgen, we have a problem! Liverpool are closing in on crisis territory
Jan 29, 2017 - 01:00
Liverpool had virtually all of the ball although, but for a few half-hearted penalty appeals, were not creating chances. McAteer does feel though that Klopp will get it right, adding: "He's a great manager".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Greenpeace activists unfurl 'resist' banner from crane near White House
Jan 29, 2017 - 00:55
Wednesday and attempted to unfurl a banner, although it wasn't clear what they were protesting, according to The Washington Post . The protest near the White House closed streets and snarled traffic in Washington on Wednesday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Diageo to reallocate marketing spend to underinvested brands to drive 'future profit'
Jan 28, 2017 - 00:40
Good sales of white spirits and scotch in Asia Pacific offset the continued contraction of the local whiskey market in Korea. North America delivered net sales growth of 3 percent, while USA spirits net sales were up by 4 percent.

"A Dog's Purpose" A Meaningful Family Film
Jan 28, 2017 - 00:39
Bailey's life on the police force is a brief placeholder, along with his pleasant stint as an overfed Corgi. The matter, further fueled by media manipulation of the few seconds of video, is still under investigation.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Thousands Protest Australia Day in Sydney Condemning Holiday as 'Invasion Day'
Jan 28, 2017 - 00:37
The man, 20, who allegedly tried to light the flag was arrested and was taken to Redfern police station for questioning. Tasmanian governor Kate Warner added to the debate, saying changing the date was something for Australians to consider.

Williams sisters face off in Australian Open final
Jan 27, 2017 - 00:57
Williams is the oldest woman to make a grand slam semi-final since legendary compatriot Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994. Serena is the sister she loves dearly but she is also the rival who has dwarfed her achievements on the court.

Middlesbrough confirms Atlanta United signs USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan
Jan 27, 2017 - 00:56
After starting his career with Chivas USA, Guzan has spent the past nine seasons in the Premier League, mostly with Aston Villa. Currently United's roster features two goalkeepers: former Kansas City keeper Alec Kann and Greek keeper Alexandros Tabakis.