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Nasscom to debate immigration Bill with Silicon Valley firms

Nasscom is actively lobbying with US lawmakers to offset the negative impact of proposed Bill.

Written by Fe Bureau | Bangalore | Published: July 11, 2013 1:17:12 am

Nasscom,the Indian IT industry’s trade body that is actively lobbying with the US lawmakers to offset the negative impact of the proposed immigration Bill will further expand its scope of engagement to include other stakeholders like American corporations,think tanks and similar associations.

Nasscom president Som Mittal,who is part of the delegation led by Union commerce minister Anand Sharma’s visit to the US starting from Thursday will be meeting various influencers in an attempt to put across the concerns of the Indian IT industry with regard to the Bill.

Talking to FE,Mittal said,“We are now engaged with many platforms and associations in the US. We have told the various stakeholders that certain provisions in the immigration Bill affecting the Indian IT industry will also have an adverse impact on the US corporations.”

Nasscom,which has already engaged a lobbying firm to largely interact with the Senate and House of Representative members,is now talking to other influential bodies who could have a bearing on the Bill. The $76-billion Indian IT & BPO services export industry generates over 60% of its revenue from US.

Nasscom has been highlighting the concerns of the Indian IT industry regarding the Bill,with other large Indian IT companies are also aiding the efforts of the trade body. It is also engaged with other industry bodies in the US like the Silicon Valley Leadership group to advocate the industry’s position.

The Silicon Valley Leadership group,which has companies like Microsoft,IBM,Oracle as members,has been one of the key votaries for increasing the number of H-1B visas granted by the US every year. This has also evident in the immigration Bill passed by the US Senate which increased the cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to over 1,15,000.

The trade body would also hold meetings with CEOs of large US corporations as they are one of the biggest IT outsourcers and put across the view on how the Bill is likely to affect them. Mittal said,“Provisions in the Bill which impact Indian IT sector will also damage US corporations as many of the Indian firms provide critical services.”

The major concerns of the Indian IT industry with regard to the Bill are: the outplacement clause in the Bill that prohibits Indian IT companies from deploying professionals at customer locations in US if more than 15% of their employees are on H-1B visas; stringent conditions on placing Indian IT employees in American companies which could possibly displace US workers and increased cost of visas.

However,there seems to be some hope left for the industry as a separate Bill in the House of Representatives does not have the kind of damaging provisions like the one which has been passed by the Senate.

Nasscom chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan while talking to FE said that there is some sense of encouragement from the Bill in the House of Represenative but added that it is still very early days to come to any conclusions.

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