IT trade body Nasscom has said that US President Donald Trump’s executive order on seeking proposals to reform the H-1B visa system is unlikely to have any immediate impact on the country’s technology industry and termed this as a persistent campaign to discredit the sector. “No new changes are being implemented immediately. The President’s executive order directs the federal bureaucracy to enforce visa law more vigorously, and to study new ways to reform and restrict the H-1B system. Nothing is being proposed that would impact or change the FY18 H-1B lottery that is currently underway,” Nasscom said in a statement.
Terming the proposed changes as forward-looking and non-specific, Nasscom said any move to replace the existing lottery system to select the H-1B applicants based on most skilled or highest paid would have intended consequences.
“Using salary levels as the metric is not necessarily the best indicator of benefits to the US economy and unless such a system reflects variations in prevailing wages in all parts of the US, it could give advantage to certain regions such as Silicon Valley over other regions of the US,” Nasscom said.
The trade body felt that using skill levels as the metric would put federal bureaucrats in the role of technology consultants and human resource specialists. “There is simply too much variety and dynamism in the skill sets needed for such a system to work under the direction of federal bureaucrats,” it said.
Nasscom reiterated the point that persistent myths surrounding H-1B visas as cheap labour or displacing American workers as inaccurate.
“The fundamental issue is the shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in the United States, in IT, healthcare, education, and other fields. The H-1B visa system exists specifically because of the persistent shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in the United States,” the statement said.