Home / Companies / People /  TCS criticizes H-1B visa ban, curbs on foreign students

India’s largest IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Friday said the US freeze on H-1B visas is an “unexpected and unfortunate" move that played with the lives of professionals who had worked hard to deliver value to American customers.

“The attitude towards us in a country where we contribute significantly is unexpected and unfortunate." The move will have no material impact on TCS’s business, TCS chief executive Rajesh Gopinathan said during the press meet called to discuss the company's June quarter earnings.

TCS' reported profit was below expectations after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted clients’ operations.

In earlier instances, when the US administration made changes to H-1B regulations, mostly impacting Indian IT professionals, TCS and its peers always maintained that they would fulfil the requirements by enhancing local hiring.

TCS was the first among Indian IT companies to call out the visa curbs, saying work visa holders play a major role in running banks, retailers, manufacturing companies, telcos, and significantly contribute to the US economy.

US president Donald Trump’s 22 June decision to ban work visas created panic among Indian workers who are in the US on valid visas. Most individuals affected by the ban are technology professionals and skilled employees who have been transferred to onshore facilities of US companies.

“On a longer term, based on how the situation evolves we anticipate challenges from a sourcing (recruitment) perspective. A fair share of students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) discipline are international students and the treatment of these students and potential changes in regulations in the future will have potential impact on the future of technology development in US," Milind Lakkad, TCS EVP and global head-HR, said during the earnings press conference.

In a separate directive for international students, the US administration said that if they were not attending in-person classes, they would have to leave the country. The move could affect over 200,000 Indian students in the US.

Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the Trump administration on the student visas move, Reuters reported. Separately, the US has told India that it will try and mitigate the impact of new visa rules.

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