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Home >Industry >Infotech >New H1-B rules will harm US economy: Nasscom

NEW DELHI: IT industry body Nasscom on Wednesday said changes announced to the H-1B visa programme will restrict access to talent and harm the US economy by endangering jobs and slowing down research and development for solutions to the covid crisis. Is important for the US market to be able to access skilled talent for its businesses, especially during the covid recovery phase, it said in a statement.

The new rules notified by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DoL) for the H-1B visa regime on Tuesday changes the definitions of specialty occupation, employer, employee-employer relationship, and limits the validity of an such visas to one year for a worker placed at a third party worksite. It also increases enforcement and investigations for these visas.

The new rules also changes the current four-tiered wage system for jobs that US employers seek to fill with foreign workers. Both rules will be issued as Interim Final Rules (IFRs), without any notice period or right to comment.

"These regulations seem to be based on misinformation about the programme and runs counterproductive to their very objective of saving the American economy and jobs," Nasscom said.

This is particularly relevant at a time when US businesses continue to face a huge deficit of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills.

US unemployment rate grew from 4.1% in January to 8.4% in August, while unemployment in computer occupations declined from 3% to 2.5% in this period.

In the 30-day period ending 28 September, there were over 6,52,000 active job vacancies advertised online positions in computer occupations, up from 6,25,000 vacancies in the 30-day period ending 13 May. This shows that demand for hi-tech skills remain robust, endorsing the argument that is a lack of workers with relevant skills to fill up these vacancies. The new rules announced will worsen this talent gap by making it more difficult for US employers to hire foreign workers, Nasscom said.

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