The US is said to be mulling 10-15 percent cap on H-1B visas for nations that compel foreign companies to store data locally. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

H-1B Visa Cap Will Weaken U.S. Firms, Put Jobs At Risk, Says Nasscom

A cap on H-1B visas issued to Indian professionals will weaken U.S. firms that depend on these work visas to fill skill gaps and put jobs at at risk, IT industry body Nasscom said on Thursday.

That Indians account for a large chunk of H-1B visas issued by the U.S. is a “testimony” of their skill set, Nasscom said, pointing out that a “vast majority” of these visas are sponsored by global U.S. multinational companies.

"Only a small share of these Indian nationals are employed by Indian companies. The vast majority of them are sponsored by global and U.S. multinationals," it added.

The statement comes in the wake of reports that the U.S. is mulling 10-15 percent cap on H-1B visas for nations that compel foreign companies to store data locally. Such a move gains significance amid an unravelling India-U.S. trade war.

Nasscom, whose members include Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. as well as smaller tech firms, noted that there is no official confirmation yet on the reported H-1B visa cap. It is awaiting clarity from official channels.

"If the U.S. visa policy makes it more difficult to hire advanced tech workers, it will only weaken the U.S companies that depend on them to help fill their skills gaps, put jobs at risk, creating pressure to send technology services abroad," Nasscom said in a statement.

Such a move, if implemented, would have a major impact on the over $150 billion Indian IT sector, which gets a lion's share of its revenue from the U.S. market. Indian IT firms use H-1B visas to send staff to client locations in the U.S.

However, increasing visa scrutiny under the Donald Trump administration has compelled Indian IT companies to step up local hiring in the U.S.

Nasscom had in April said the number of unfilled jobs stood at 7.5 million in the U.S. Of these, 67 percent—or two out of every three jobs—required specific technical skills.

"It is this very unmet technical requirement that skilled immigrants, including workers on H-1B visas, have helped meet in the U.S... The U.S.' global leadership in technology has been made possible, in part, by its ability to attract the most talented workers from around the world," the statement said.

The industry body also warned that if such a move were to be implemented, it could lead to a greater crunch for businesses to access the skilled workers they need. "...this is true for all businesses operating in the U.S., including both Indian and American and global firms," it said.

Also read: No Communication Yet From The U.S. On H-1B Visa Cap, Says Commerce Ministry

Bloomberg Quint

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