The US Senate vote for stricter conditions on the hiring of workers on H-1B visas by firms receiving Federal bailout money may not hit Indian IT companies. The impact will only be on those directly employed with Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) companies which are H-1B dependent. The dependent companies are those which have 15 per cent of their workforce carrying H-1B visas, says Nasscom president Som Mittal. Companies that have received Federal bailout money are banks,insurance companies and auto companies.
As much as 40 per cent of revenue for the Indian IT industry comes from outsourcing from the banking,financial services and insurance sector. However,Mittal adds that these restrictions may not affect employees of Indian outsourcing companies. The provisions should not impact those who are not under direct employment of these TARP companies. Only those who are directly employed by them are impacted. It does not extend to any partner or associate working with these companies, he said. Mittal added that a Nasscom delegation that will visit the US this month to meet politicians and corporates will raise the issue of how protectionism is not desirable for global business.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association said the move is a disturbing step towards an era of employment protectionism. The association said instead of seeing the current economic calamity as a global problem and immigrants as part of the collective solution,the Senate unwisely chose to restrict the financial industrys access to top-flight global talent,which can help create jobs for US workers.
The amendment was co-sponsored by Republican Senator from Iowa,Charles Grassley,and Independent Senator from Vermont,Bernie Sanders. It is estimated that of the total 85,000 H-1B visas that were handed out last year,Indian companies cornered about 12,500 such visas.