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20 April 2017, 06:22 | Kelvin Horton
"With the United States tightening the norms for H-1B visas under the President Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" campaign, the Indian IT companies are bound to face disruptions by way of higher costs and even some laying off work force back home, as the rising rupee is aggravating the situation further for the technology export firms", Assocham said in a "paper". "Nothing is being proposed that would impact or change the FY18 H-1B lottery that is now underway", Nasscom said in a statement. H-1B visa programme as ordered by the US President could come up with recommendations that could have "far reaching consequences".
While analysts ruled out any major immediate risk from the changes in the US visa process, they said any sweeping reforms could pose a major risk in future and hurt IT companies' margins.
Asserting that the proposed changes were forward-looking and non-specific, it said the campaign to discredit the IT sector was driven by persistent myths that H-1B visa holders were "cheap labour" and "displace American workers" who train their replacements, none of which is accurate. The U.S. government recently said it received 199,000 H-1B visa petitions for 2018, 37,000 less than a year ago.
According to Reuters report dated April 19, Trump ordered a review of the U.S. visa programme for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country, putting technology firms and the outsourcing companies that serve them on notice that possible changes may be ahead. Most Indian IT companies get over 60 per cent of their revenues from the North American market.
Amid concerns over the US' changed H1-B visa programme, India has said it was in touch with the Trump administration and making "full assessment" of its impact on Indian professionals.
"In that case, the chances of layoffs are real", the ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat cautioned, while impressing upon the IT industry apex bodies and the government to work out a joint strategy to deal with the unfolding situation.
Infosys on Wednesday said it would work with US policymakers and focus on hiring local talent.
"Indian IT firms have been net job creators in the U.S.", Shivendra Singh, vice-president and head, Global Trade Development at Nasscom said. It has also said it will "tweak" its business model to continue to be in compliance with regulations.
Nasscom also highlighted that there is shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in the U.S. in IT, healthcare, education, and other fields.
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