H-1B visa: ‘Suspension of premium processing not to be a significant impediment’

In the latest development, the US announced that in order to clear the backlog of pending visa applications, it would temporarily suspend the ‘premium processing’ of H-1B visas from April 3.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: March 6, 2017 1:16 am
 H-1B visas, US H-1B visas, United States H-1B visas, H-1B visas-Indian IT companies, suspension of H-1B visas, Nasscom, India news, Indian Express Over the past few months, uncertainty has loomed over the 0-billion Indian outsourcing industry over the H-1B visa regime.

Notwithstanding the delays that are expected to be faced by Indian IT companies in premium processing due to the temporary suspension of H-1B visas by the US, the development won’t come as a “significant impediment”, industry body Nasscom said on Sunday in a statement.

“The current issue of the temporary suspension of premium H-1B processing will create some process delays for companies — Indian and American, but is not a significant impediment. This has happened in the past for a couple of months to clear the backlog and we will work with the US Embassy in India to enable mobility of skilled talent is not impacted due to process issues,” Nasscom said.

Over the past few months, uncertainty has loomed over the $110-billion Indian outsourcing industry over the H-1B visa regime. In the latest development, the US announced that in order to clear the backlog of pending visa applications, it would temporarily suspend the ‘premium processing’ of H-1B visas from April 3, a practice which allowed some firms to jump the queue.

The suspension comes in light of India pressing for a fair and rational approach on the issue from a trade and business perspective. Experts have suggested that this move could impact companies wishing to send employees to the US on H-1B for projects on an urgent basis.

Apart from this, a private member’s Bill was introduced in the US Congress last month, which proposed to double the minimum wages of H-1B visa holders that could in turn significantly increase costs for IT companies. The US market accounts for over 60 per cent of the Indian IT sector exports, and any tightening of the visa regime, as proposed so far, could result in higher costs and shortage of skilled workers.

India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar recently was on a visit to the US recently along with other high-ranking Indian officials, to put forth India’s view that the issue surrounding the visa regime was a matter of trade and not immigration. Several government representatives have earlier said that India was engaged with the administration of new US President Donald Trump, as well as members of the US Congress on concerns regarding the H-1B visa issue.

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