Strict H-1B visa rule will not impact Indian IT firms, says Mohandas Pai

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals.

Strict H-1B visa rule will not impact Indian IT firms, says Mohandas Pai

New Delhi: The recent move by the Donald Trump administration to tighten H-1B visa approval is unlikely to have any significant impact on Indian IT firms compliant with laws, but could "hurt" bodyshops that misuse the system, said former Infosys director and industry veteran T V Mohandas Pai on Sunday.

Under the new policy by Trump administration, a company will have to go an extra mile to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments in a speciality occupation.

The new move announced recently through a seven-page policy empowers the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue H-1B visas to an employee only for the period for which he/she has worked at a third-party worksite.

The guidance said in the order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the beneficiary will be employed in a speciality occupation and the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

Mohandas Pai told news agency Press Trust of India, "...Larger companies are working within the law...There are some bodyshops which misuse the law, they will be hurt."

Besides, large established companies, even the smaller players who are compliant with law will not feel any adverse impact, he noted.

He added that the visa process has already been tightened and hence no significant impact is expected to be seen on account of the new guidance.

The new guidance comes weeks ahead of the beginning of the H-1B visas filing season, which is expected to be April 2, for the financial year 2019 beginning from October 1, 2018.

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Indian IT firms, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, has a significant number of its employees deployed at third-party worksites. A significant number of American banking, travel and commercial services depend on on-site IT workers from India to get their job done.

The US, which has taken a number of steps to tighten visa processes, accounts for over 60 percent of India's IT export revenues.

 

(With PTI inputs)