Changes to H-1B visa rules to benefit IT behemoths
It is being opined that the overhaul to the H-1B visa scheme being mooted by the United States may benefit big-ticket technology firms such as Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet and others, but would hit the outsourcing companies hard. It is said to be focusing on doing away with H-1B visa applications of computer programmers who are not of high level. The program’s scope and magnitude would remain unaffected this year, it is said.
Every year, 85,000 H-1B visas are granted following a lottery of applicants who file applications. It is being claimed that outsourcing firms, which hire lower-skilled personnel through the program, will not be given as many visas they were if the new rules are enforced.
Rod Bourgeois, head of research at DeepDive Equity Research, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the crackdown on this visa program may actually benefit larger IT companies. He said that if Indian firms find it tougher to get visas processed for basic programming jobs, then the firms which depend on people with higher skills and good talent would profit.
On the other hand, Carl Shusterman, a former attorney for the USCIS (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service), commenting on the changes, said they were a veiled threat against companies that outsource.
In fact, seven outsourcing companies were issuing 1,000 visa applications for the basic level computer programmers in 2015. All of these companies are said to outsource services such as HR, IT accounting, and payroll for other enterprises. While HCL America is said to be one of them, most of the others were based out of India.
Silicon Valley companies had a different take on it as they said that they do not utilise H-1B visas like outsourcing firms. According to them, letting foreign students obtain advanced degrees from the top universities in the US and letting them go to work in other foreign nations is a misplaced policy of the US.