Relief to Indian techies as US says no change in H-1B extension policy

Relief to Indian techies as US says no change in H-1B extension policy

Indian IT industry lobby group Nasscom, software companies and thousands of tech workers are heaving a sigh of relief over the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decision not to make any changes in the H-1B visa policy.

The decision is a big relief to 7,50,000 Indian workers in technology, healthcare and research  in the US as the Trump administration on Tuesday said  that it is not considering any proposal that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the country.

Talking to DH, Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said the USCIS decision concur well with the demands of India. "We are delighted that Indian IT workers will get all their benefits as the US decided not to change any rules in H-1B visa norms".  

"It is not only about the Indian IT industry but about all Indians who use H-1B visas. Given that there is a real problem of shortage of skilled professionals in the US, any disruptive move will be detrimental for both India and the US," he said.

Commenting on the the development,  Tech Mahindra Ltd Vice Chairman Vineet Nayyar said the resumption of fast processing of  H-1B  work visas by the USCIS is a very positive development.

"This will not only help the Indian IT industry, but also benefit US companies, looking for quality IT professionals with niche skillsets at a short notice, for critical work that cannot be offshored. We welcome the move and appreciate the recognition of the critical contribution of technology to run an efficient industrial system and be successful," Nayyar said.

According to Sarabjit Kour Nangra, Vice President, Research, Angel Broking, the USCIS decision is not likely to result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.  

"The new policy said to be under consideration had proposed denying an extension to H-1B visa holders beyond the maximum period of six years. Indian H-1B visa holders working in the US waiting for their Green Cards could face deportation if the proposal was accepted and enforced. The development is positive, we have an Accumulate rating on Infosys and HCL Tech," Nangra added.

Even though Indian IT companies such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro do not typically sponsor their H-1B employees for Green Card, the companies avail it and send them back to India at the end of the maximum stipulated period of six years allowed on this visa type.

US President Donald Trump, during his election campaign, had batted for deporting H-1B visa holders to give opportunity for the US citizens.  USCIS clarification helps H-1B visa holders to extend their tenure beyond the six-year limit.

Recently, Trump also decided to cut corporate tax from 35% to 21% which will improve their competitiveness in their domestic market. It is expected to impact Indian IT and ITeS, pharma and contract manufacturing industries as the US companies will find their home more attractive destination for expansion.

The US government decision, seen as the largest reform after three decades, is expected to add $1.4 trillion (Rs 90 lakh crore) to the Federal deficit over the next decade.


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