Is Indian IT Sector prepared to fade its addiction for H-1B visas?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Vivek Kumar Jha, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Having worked with an IT giant for around 2 years, one fact that became quite evident to me was the affection or rather an infatuation of IT employees with the word “Onsite deployment”. I have seen people going to any length to get an opportunity for Onsite experience, especially for the USA, as it seemed to be one of the most viable options to save considerable money (considering the value of Indian Rupee against US Dollars) in a short span of time. But, with the latest news of “Donald Trump overhauling the rules for H-1B visas” coming into the picture, it seems clouds are starting to gather around dreams of many.

H-1B visa falls into a non-immigrant category where the employer applies for H-1B visa petition with the US Immigration Department. It allows a person to work up to a maximum of 6 years in the US. Indian IT sector has always secured the top positions for application of H-1Bs, Infosys leading the herd by miles. The $150-Billion technology sector relies on projects from the USA to get more than 50% of its revenue. This clearly suggests the kind of effect IT firms can have if the changes are done. While several changes have been proposed, the major ones talk about increasing minimum wage for H-1B visa holders to $130,000 (almost double of the current requirement), setting 20% of total H-1B visas allocation aside to start-ups with less than 50 employees and wanting firms to try harder to get local employees for the same role.

Clearly, the idea is to restrict inflows from other countries and retain those jobs for the residents. Companies like Infosys and Tech Mahindra has already pointed out that they are working in the direction to reduce dependencies on the H-1B visas by preferring local workers. Undoubtedly, these companies will be ready when the moment comes, but what intrigues me is how those “Die-Hard US Onsite lovers” of IT companies are going to prepare themselves as their aspiration to gain those big bucks stands still!

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