In the backdrop of the recent H1-B visa legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives, NASSCOM said it will continue to engage with the Trump administration both directly and indirectly through the Government of India. While maintaining that the bill will need to go through several legislative discussions at the US Congress and Senate before this can become a law, the industry body said in a statement on Tuesday that their focus would be on highlighting the value contribution of India’s IT sector as a “net creator” of jobs in the US. “The Lofgren Bill contains provisions that may prove challenging for the Indian IT sector and will also leave loopholes that will nullify the objective of saving American jobs,” read the statement.
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President NASSCOM R. Chandrashekhar said, their strong suggestion is they should carefully calibrate the conditions keeping in mind the skill shortage in the US.
“Once that is done, they should not leave any loopholes in the rules being framed that leave some channels open for circumventing the limits. Raising wage levels for dependent companies alone will defeat the basic objective as non-dependent companies can continue to bring in skilled workers at lower wage levels, thereby nullifying the objective of protecting job opportunities for American nationals,” he said.
According to NASSCOM, here are some specific provisions of the bill that need to be considered
1. The bill does nothing to address the underlying shortage of STEM-skilled workers, which has led all companies to have a calibrated strategy of hiring locally and bridging the skills gap by bringing skilled workers on non-immigrant visas including H-1Bs
2. The bill does not treat all IT service companies with H-1B visa holders equally, and the provisions are biased against H-1B dependent companies.
3. The bill does nothing to consider regional variations in salary structure, which could help some states and hurt others.
4. The higher wage level would have ripple effects for many other industries including nursing, engineering, life sciences, and others.
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A legislation was introduced earlier today in the US House of Representatives which among other things calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to USD 130,000, making it difficult for firms to use the programme to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.