Bangalore: India’s tech industry has demanded more liberal US visa rules for software and computer professionals in response to calls by US lawmakers to limit their entry further.
According to Nasscom, the annual US visa limit of 65,000 for overseas professionals like software engineers is harming trade in the information technology industry.The cap on so-called H1B visas was reduced from 195,000 two years ago and this year, foreign employers have snapped up all the visas on the first day of their issue.
“Constraining the supply when demand is high gives rise to problems for both US companies as well Indian IT companies,” said NASSCOM.
The cap has to be large enough to allow market forces to operate freely. H1B visa is an employer-sponsored, non-immigrant, temporary work visa for skilled employees.
Nasscom was reacting to an allegation by US federal lawmakers Charles Grassley and Richard Durbin this week that H1B visas were being misused by foreign employers to disadvantage skilled Americans.
The two senators have introduced legislation that would overhaul the US work visa programme to ensure American workers are protected and crackdown on employers who deprive locals of high-skill jobs.
“Supporters claim the goal of the H1B programme is to help the American economy allowing companies to hire needed foreign workers,” Durbin was quoted as saying in a statement.
Too many H1B visas are being used to facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries. The two senators wrote to nine top Indian IT firms, including software makers TCS, Infosys and Wipro, to account for their workforce and how they are using H1B visas, demanding a reply by May 29.
The nine companies account for 20,000 H1B visas. Bangalore-based Infosys, India’s second-largest software maker, is “examining the issue,” said a spokeswoman for the company. Wipro, also based in Bangalore, is waiting to receive the letter.