Nasscom allays fears over Trump’s order on H1-B visas

Bengaluru, April 19
US President Donald Trump’s new executive order on the H1-B visas for software engineers would have no impact or change the lottery underway, said the Indian IT industry’s representative body Nasscom on Wednesday.
“Nothing is being proposed that would impact or change the FY 2018 H-1B lottery (system) that is underway. No new changes are being implemented immediately,” said the National Association of Software Services and Companies (Nasscom) in a statement here. Asserting that the proposed changes were forward-looking and non-specific, it said the campaign to discredit the IT sector was driven by persistent myths that H-1B visa holders were “cheap labour” and “displace American workers” who train their replacements, none of which is accurate.
“The President’s Tuesday order directs the federal bureaucracy to enforce visa law vigorously and study new ways to reform and restrict the H-1B system,” reiterated Nasscom. After signing the order, Trump asked his Secretary of State, Attorney General, Labor Secretary and Homeland Secretary to propose new rules and issue new guidance to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance to protect the interests of the US workers in the administration of the immigration system.
The President also asked his top officials to suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas were awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.
“Indian firms support efforts to root out any abuse occurring in the H-1B system, as our IT industry is one of the most regulated sectors in the economy, and companies abide by applicable laws and regulations,” claimed Nasscom. Asserting that the H-1B visa system was meant to meet the acute shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in the US, it said additional curbs on the H-1B or L-1 visas would hurt thousands of US businesses and their efforts to be competitive by hindering access to needed talent.
“We have no problem with measures to protect American workers, but they should be made applicable to all firms applying for short-term skilled visas, including H-1B,” it reiterated.
The shortage of skilled domestic talent is more in IT, healthcare, education and other fields across the US.
Observing that salary levels as the metric was not the best indicator of benefits to the US economy, it said unless a system that reflects variations in prevailing wages across the US was considered, it could advantage certain regions such as the Silicon Valley over other regions in of the US.
“Using skill levels as the metric will put federal bureaucrats in the role of technology consultants and human resource specialists. There is no variety and dynamism in the skill sets needed for such a system to work under the direction of federal bureaucrats,” added the statement.

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