Of Computer Coolies and Obama
Obama’s immigration move: need to look at the fineprint, says IT industry
It’s cheering the positives, but cautious too
Bangalore, November 21:
It may be cheering US President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration, but the IT industry is also waiting to see the details of the Bill. Obama said the US will make it easier and quicker for highly skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to its economy, as many business leaders have proposed.
Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said that though the US President’s stance on streamlining procedures to retain skilled foreign tech students and workers is a positive, the industry is waiting for the fineprint.
Also, the industry body believes that more clarity is needed on the L1B visa, a non-immigration visa issued for intra-company employee transfers.
The caution stems from a proposed Bill, worked on by a group of US Senators known as the Gang of Eight, since 2013. The Bill has put in some clauses that were causing concern to Indian software exporters, who rely on having their staff onsite to complete projects.
The H1B and L1 Visa Reform Act of 2013 ensures that an H1-B application filed by an employer hiring 50 or more US workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50 per cent of the workforce is made up of H1B and L1 visa holders.
“From what has come out, this has no negative ramification for us,” said Ganesh Natarajan, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies.
Indian companies and multinationals such as IBM and Microsoft, which have a large Indian workforce, have been watching the developments closely for more than 18 months and have been stating that the US needs more highly skilled workers, as it is unable to produce the required number every year.
In April last year, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji told newspersons that if the procedures are not simplified and speeded up, it will impact the work of both Indian and multinational companies. Indian companies have been applying for fewer visas over the past three years as visa rejection has been on the rise.
With inputs from S Ronendra Singh in New Delhi