The government today hoped that US’ review of the H-1B visa regime would take into account the contribution of Indian companies to American businesses and the positive bilateral ties between the two. IT secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that concerns on visa changes were “premature”, as the US administration has merely initiatied a review and no action has been taken yet to curb the number of such work permits to Indian companies. “I am sure as and when the US government does a review, they will take into account what has been value added by Indian companies,” she said on the sidelines of Broadband India Forum event.
A mere 17 per cent of total US visas go to Indian companies and a large number of American firms benefit from services provided by Indian firms, she noted. “The Indian government is already (working) in close co- ordination with US authorities…the value proposition and partnership between India and the US is well known…So we hope that any changes or review of the regime will be built on that foundation,” she added. Also, industries on both sides are hopeful that the review of H-1B visa process will take into consideration the “positive” relationship between the two countries.
Over the past few weeks there is a growing sentiment of protectionism across various markets, including the US, seeking to safeguard jobs for locals and raise the bar for foreign workers. In the US, the Trump administration wants to replace the current lottery system with a more merit-based immigration policy. Any change in visa norms can affect the movement of labour as well as spike operational costs for IT players. In response to the proposed tightening of the visa regime, the Indian IT firms have been ramping up hiring of locals in the US, a market that accounts for almost 60 per cent of the India’s tech export revenues.