'H-1B workers are not underpaid'

'H-1B workers are not underpaid'

H-1B and L1 visas have been brought to the limelight by the introduction of the  ‘H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Bill’ in the US Senate by Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin. Since Indian IT companies are among the leading beneficiaries of H-1B visas, and use L1 visas extensively, Deccan Herald reached out to industry body Nasscom. Its spokesperson spoke to us over phone, butrefused to be quoted by name.

On the Grassley-Durbin Bill

Nasscom would like to highlight that the bill contains provisions that would unfairly restrict free movement of high skilled workforce/talent to the US by aiming to restrict the use of visas for high skilled workers, that would be harmful for the US economy as it would lead to difficulties for thousands of US business customers who need expert IT service support. It would adversely impact the ability of both the US and Indian companies alike that are providing this service to the US customers.

On workers with H-1B visasbeing underpaid

It is not true. Our, as well as, third- party sources have suggested that H-1B workers and US workers with a bachelor’s degree generally are paid at par in the industry. With regards to the alleged visa abuse by Indian companies, it is to be emphasised that all IT com­p­anies are under the ambit of law and follow the due process of law when it comes to procurement of H-1B visas. It is an individual company issue and they do take care of due diligence.

On how Nasscom proposes to respond

Nasscom will continue to work with the USadministration and policymakers on these matters. There are other high skilledimmigration bills that are less restrictive in nature and do talk about increasing the H-1B caps from the current numbers.

On whether there is a skills gap in the US

The root cause of the problem is skills shortage in US, i.e STEM skills, where H-1Bs and
L-1s fill the skills gap and positively impact the ability of US-based companies to access global talent. Various sources and studies have pointed out to these skills gap and a number of our member companies have also been undertaking CSR activities to fund programmes in the US to improve STEM skills. Indian companies are partners in the growth of US, and growth of US IT sector.

There is a skills gap in the US which is filled in by H-1B workers, and hence Indian IT has a positive impact on US companies by giving them a cutting edge when it comes to the competition. Indian companies have made a positive impact on the US economy, which was highlighted in the report released by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in September 2015 in Washington, DC.

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