From April, the premium processing of H1B visas, the permits that enable skilled foreigners to be employed in the United States, will be suspended for six months. This move is most likely to affect thousands of Indian nationals, predominantly in the $150 billion Indian information technology industry.
Shares of prominent tech firms like Wipro and Infosys faced the expected plunge. This appalling bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives with the objective to increase the minimum annual salary to qualify for an H1B viSA FROM $60,000 (Rs. 40 Lakhs) to at least $130,000 (Rs. 87 Lakh). Indian tech firms have long been accused of misutilizing H1B visas to hire Indian workers for less than it would cost to hire an American.
85,000 H1B visas are made available each year which includes 20,000 reserved for workers with advanced degrees. Since the number of applicants for H1B is way more than visas available, both employees and companies take their chances in a lottery. Other than unprecedented downturns like that of in the year 2008, there is no exception to this gambling. The suspension of the premium process, which permits firms to pay a $1225 (Rs.82,000) fee to expedite applications, is ostensibly to clear a backlog. Last year, Indian workers accounted for 70% of the 85, 000 available H1B visas, with Indian firms receiving 17000 visas, or 20% of the total.
Not only working professionals but also students planning to pursue engineering in and after 2017 are going to be the worst sufferers. According to data from the Washington-based Pew Research Center shows that India is the largest contributor of migrants in the world. Most favorite destination for most migrants is the US or the UAE. India is also the largest immigrant population of the world.
15.6 million people born in India who make their homes in other countries. Compared with 12.3 million Mexicans and 9.5 million Chinese.
3.5 million Indian-born people living in the UAE, about 33% of the population. 940,444 migrants to the UAE come from Egypt, the second highest contributor.
$69 billion money sent by NRIs back to India, the highest of any country.
3% average proportion that migrates. Despite the largest numbers, India falls below this average less than 2% leave the country.
Indian tech students and professionals are about to suffer the most because of this bill. Consequentially, students appearing for higher secondary 2017 are at the hamletsque juncture of “to be or not to be an engineer”.
My brother- in- law works in Silicon valley. The bill however have jeopardized his professional career. I’m likely to rethink my career goals after my Higher Secondary exams this year. – Abhik Choudhury, 17, Kolkata*.
Engineering jobs mostly depend on outsourcing. Subtle changes in International relations can affect engineers adversely. I have witnessed the downturn of 2008. I don’t want my son to face the same wrath. – Mr. Sukamal Debnath, 48, Kolkata*.
My daughter is appearing for higher secondary this year. We do not want entrust her with burden of our expectations. We want her to take her own decision. Gone are the days when parents used to decide career choices on behalf of their children. – Kamalika Chatterjee, 39, Kolkata*.
Yes, I have heard about this deplorable bill. Though it got tough for students aspiring to be tech grads but I hope they should rethink and choose a career which better suits the need of the hour. – Asmita Sinharoy, 26, Kolkata*.
*As interviewed by #asksubho.
Though Indian IT companies have created 155,000 jobs directly and 411,000 jobs in ancillay services; with a consistent annual growth rate of 10%.
According to Nasscom report, Indian IT companies provide services to 75% of the Fortune 500 companies, ensuring global competitiveness to American companies.
US government did admit to a shortage of talent in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) areas.In US the shortfall in talent for STEM jobs is estimated at 2.4 million. While unemployment among STEM graduates is under 2%.
With declining number of Indian manufacturing industries and growing tension over immigration issues, thousands of students and professionals are switching their career trajectories to other promising industries like media, pharmaceuticals & marketing.
Let the suspension get over soon. Infosys chairman, Mr. Narayan Murthy said, US must now prepare for the life without imported, low cost know-how that gave them their competitive advantage in the first place.
Source: Google, India Today
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