TCS says deportation of students will restrict tech development in US

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Published: July 9, 2020 9:40 PM

US President Donald Trump's move to stop H1-B visas, widely used by software professionals, is "unfortunate and unfair", TCS said.

TCS, Tata Consultancy Services, US, Donald Trump, H1-BThe US has issued new guidelines barring foreign students from remaining in America if their universities switched to online-only classes in the Fall. (Representational Image)

The country’s largest software services firm TCS on Thursday said deportation of foreign students from the US poses a long-term challenge for tech majors who rely on the varsities for talent, and warned that such a move could impact technology development.

It also said that US President Donald Trump’s move to stop H1-B visas, widely used by software professionals, is “unfortunate and unfair”.

The US has issued new guidelines barring foreign students from remaining in America if their universities switched to online-only classes in the Fall, which prompted Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to sue the Department of Homeland Security and the federal immigration agency.

“In the long term, based on how the situation evolves, we anticipate challenges from a sourcing perspective as a fair share of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) are international students,” Milind Lakkad, its global head for human resources, said.

Lakkad said the treatment of international students and potential changes in the optional practical training (OPT) regulation in the future “will have an impact not only on us but also technology development in the US”.

He added that from an associate’s perspective, such a regulation would be “unfair”.

Lakkad also reminded that associates hired by companies such as TCS contribute significantly to the US economy by helping in running major banks, retailers, telecom firms and also manufacturing industries.

On the proclamation to stop H1-B visas, he said the US president’s move is “unfortunate and unfair”, but added that the same will not have any impact for the company in the short term.

He said the company has a strong system of delivering talent within the US and also referred to a widely successful system wherein over 4 lakh of its employees have started working remotely to hint that work can carry on.

“It is important for all the stakeholders to understand that the proclamation is causing enormous uncertainty and anxiety to associates,” he said.

The US is the biggest market for the USD 180-billion software sector, which directly employs over 40 lakh people. Industry lobby Nasscom has already expressed its concerns on the regulatory changes underway in the US.

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