Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the number of H-1B visas for Indian IT professionals will not be reduced.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has tried to calm the nervousness about the controversial visa issue. He has said that the number of H-1B visas for Indian IT professionals will not be reduced. Sitharaman has appealed not to be disturbed by the industry.
He talked to reporters here that he thinks that America wants to make some improvements in the lottery process. It is not that he is making a change in numbers. The number will not be less so there is no need to worry about the visa front. Recently, the sense of protectionism has increased in various developed economies including the United States. Under this, the demand for the protection of the employment of the locals and the standard for foreign professionals has caught hold of it.
Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi “there is no need to get panicky on the visa front. The lottery process is something I suppose the US wanted to do a correction on. The numbers aren’t something they are changing, so these won’t come down.
In America, the Trump Administration wants to replace the current lottery system with a more qualified-based immigration policy. Sitharaman said that only 17 per cent of the total American visa goes to Indian companies. Many US companies benefit from the services offered by these Indian firms. From time to time, India has expressed hope that review of the H-1B visa process will take into account positive relations between the two countries.
Over the past few weeks, there is a growing sentiment of protectionism across various developed economies, including the US, seeking to safeguard jobs for locals and raise the bar for foreign workers. The Trump administration in the US, wants to replace the current lottery system with an immigration policy that is based on merit.
She noted that just 17% of total US visas go to Indian companies and a number of American firms benefit from services provided by Indian firms. India seeks some hope that the review of H1B visa process will take the positive relationship between India and the US into consideration. Any change in visa norms can affect the movement of labor as well as spike operational costs for IT players.
Indian IT firms have been ramping up hiring of locals in the US, in response to the proposed tightening of the visa regime, a market that accounts for almost 60% of the India’s technology export revenues. On changes in the selection process for H1B visa, the minister hoped that “where the high skill set is required, US would look for that, in place for first time graduates”.
The US can become more choosy in selecting the visas, but the “numbers are not changing”. “No need of getting worried... because the number of H1B visas that we have got, we will continue to get that,” she promised.
In the previous month, US President Donald Trump had signed an executive order for narrowing the H1B visa programme to stop its “abuse” and ensure the visas are given to the “most- skilled or highest paid” petitioners, a decision that is seen to impact India’s $150 billion IT industry. A serious concern was expressed by the Indian IT industry over the issue as these visas were mainly used for short-term work in the US.
The H1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. The IT companies of India depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees every year for their US operations.
The US market accounts for about 60% of the revenue of Indian IT. It was one of the major election promises from Trump to reform the H1B visa system. As per several US reports, a majority of the H1B visas every year are grabbed by Indian IT professionals. India possesses the highest pool of qualified IT professionals, whose services go a long way in making American companies globally competitive.