H-1B Visa: What Indian IT Companies Are Watching Out For
New US President Donald Trump's 'Buy American, Hire American' call in his inaugural address has put the Indian IT industry on edge. For the $150-billion Indian IT industry, the US is the biggest export market, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of its export earnings. The Indian IT industry is already battling slowing growth amid big changes in the technological landscape (like automation and artificial intelligence) and global headwinds like Brexit.
"From the industry perspective everybody is watching. We all expect the US president to look at a broader global environment and take a decision," said Mritunjay Singh, executive director at Persistent Systems. "We have to go beyond speeches to see what legislations are coming in."
Mr Singh points out two key bills pending in the US for tightening the H-1B visa regime: "Do you have at least 50 per cent of the employees who are local US citizens? And the other bill is about minimum wages."
The first bill is about restrictions from hiring H-1B employees if companies employ more than 50 people, and more than 50 per cent of the employees are H-1B and L1 visa holders.
Another bill, among other things, proposes to increase the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $100,000 per annum (from $60,000 per year currently).
Hiring more workers in the US could significantly raise costs for Indian tech firms, analysts say.