A new Bill in the US House of Representatives, if passed, will come as a big blow to Indian IT firms. The Bill seeks to reform H1B visa rules, and is a part of Trump’s new immigration policy changes.
Among other things, the new rules will more than double the minimum salary for H1B visa holders to USD 130,000. For Indian techies who work in Silicon Valley, this will mean loss of employment in the US as it will be difficult for companies to hire foreign workers.
The Bill has only just been introduced, and it's fate still remains to be seen. But there are at least two other Bills planned to be introduced, one by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin, and another by Representative Darrell Issa, which also aim to clamp down on H1B visas. What has many people worried most is that the Trump administration is also contemplating an Executive Order on similar lines, which could come into force much earlier.
The current rules, which have a minimum salary set at USD 60,000, allow Indian IT companies to send engineers to the US, keeping their costs low and giving them an economic advantage.
The new rules, if brought into effect, will make it financially unviable for IT companies to hire Indians for jobs in the US.
"My legislation refocuses the H1B programme to its original intent – to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly-paid, and highly-skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them," said California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who introduced the Bill.
The US issued more than a million visas to Indians in 2016, which also accounts for 72 percent of all H1B visas issued worldwide, an IANS report said.
Not only will this affect Indian IT employees in the US, it will also be a setback for students studying in the states.
Reacting to the move, Noor Hoseyn, an Indian student in the US said, “Many students like me are aware of the fact that finding a job in America after graduation is challenging and we still decided to pursue our studies here because it is the land of opportunities and we believed that consistent efforts would favor us in landing a good job. But if the new H1B proposal sees light, for aspirants it is as good as knocking on a sealed door.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs said they have taken up the matter at high levels.
“India’s interests and concerns have been conveyed both to the US administration and US Congress at senior levels,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs told media persons.