h-1b visa: What interim final rule on H-1B visas mean for Indian tech cos


By Chandra Srikanth



In the latest announcement on the proposed policy changes, the USCIS would forgo the usual 60-day comment and notice period toH-1B“immediately ensure that employing H-1B workers will not worsen the economic crisis caused by Covid-19. Shivendra Singh, Vice President & Head – Global Trade Development, Nasscom on what it will mean for Indian cos.

On the new H1-B visa regime
The latest rules announced yesterday are not just Indian IT companies, it is overall for tech companies. I am just talking from that perspective. The current scenario is probably going to also increase the level of denials which has already shot up from 6% in 2015 to about 30%. It is making things very, very difficult. If it is coming as an interim final rule, then it is probably making itself vulnerable to legal challenges. This is a 157-page document which came in late last night. Obviously, along with us, other associations are going to have a deep assessment of the same. But given the fact that we have seen precedents in the past — in March and May we had the ITServe Alliance and USCIS case and where USCIS made a settlement in terms of employer-employee relationship, third party placement and they had agreed to reverse that. There is a legal precedent where the statutory authority of the agency to be able to do these changes were questioned successfully.

Impact on business continuity and new projects

The localisation efforts have shot up to a great extent but nonetheless non-immigrant high skilled visa workers play a very critical role in bridging the skills gap on one hand. Secondly, when you create teams of let us say five people, you will have two people who have the specialised skills and they come in and then you have three local employees. What will happen is that this whole thing gets altered and even the local employment which is getting generated is also dependent to some extent on the visas because at the end of the day all the skill sets need to be bridged in together. So, that is going to be a challenge especially at a time when there is a need to make the American economy more competitive and growing it back is very critical. We will see this as a huge challenge.

Should we prepare for more?

I hope not. We had the ban on H1-B visas till the 31st of December. Thankfully, there have been exemptions based on guidance in terms of the workers which is what our demand was and thankfully that was accepted. Then we have had changes to other areas as well and so we hope that there are no further changes.

The industry requires stability and predictability to make America more competitive. Our companies work with the Fortune 500 companies and what we seek is stability and predictability at a time when secuting global talent is not the easiest thing for any country.





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