Saturday, 23 September, 2017

What Trump's H-1B Order Means For Indian IT Companies: 10 Points

Trump speaks at Snap On Tools Tuesday President Donald Trump speaks at Snap On Tools Tuesday
Howard Terry | 20 April, 2017, 00:32

For example, further restricting H-1B visas could actually result in taking jobs away from American workers by encouraging companies to relocate, Stock said.

The number of requests for H-1B visas declined this year by about 15 percent, or roughly 37,000 applications, but the total was still almost 200,000, far more than the 85,000 limit. In Texas, like other states, information technology companies and consultancies applied for the largest number of H1-B visas.

Cutting off the supply of goods not made in the United States would create fresh problems for USA companies, he said. Over half-a-dozen pieces of legislation have been introduced (and reintroduced) since January 2017 to curb alleged misuse of the H-1B visa regime from both Democrats and Republicans, including one that has called for higher minimum wage of $1,30,000, almost double from the current levels. As with the EO, this post uses the term "Buy American" in reference to domestic preference laws generally, and not just the Buy American Act itself.

What is the H-1B program, and why is the president focused on it?

Job growth, particularly in manufacturing, has been key to Trump's "Make America Great Again" mantra - vowing to "bring back" the jobs of voters who have felt the sting of employment losses and regional economic declines as manufacturing jobs moved out of the country because of globalization or were overtaken by automation.

Still, Indian outsourcing companies are preparing for a world of fewer visas, shifting the work to people in India and other countries.

Indian workers receive more than 70% of all H-1B visas, which are initially valid for three years.

Silicon Valley companies often do not cast a wide net for American job candidates.

Betsy Lawrence, the director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told CNN that, "Although released with ceremonial flair, the order will have no immediate impact on H-1Bs". "But all you have to do is check a box". Foreign workers can also be abused by the visa programs.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democrat-California, who has long pushed for changes, said some H-1B holders earned less than their stated salaries because they were forced to repay their employer for various expenses, such as travel.

What changes are under consideration for visa programs?

Instead, the executive order will look for administrative changes, including an overhaul of the lottery system used to determine which companies can sponsor the visas, one official said. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, reported in February that under the WTO procurement agreement, foreign companies have gained far more access to U.S. government contracts than American companies have gained to overseas government contracts.

"We don't know how many L-1s are here, who employs them, where they are located and what they are paid", said Ronil Hira, an associate professor of political science at Howard University who has extensively studied immigrant visa programs.

"Everyone in my administration will be expected to enforce every last "Buy American" provision on behalf of the American worker, and we are going to investigate every single trade deal that undermines these provisions", he said.

Moreover, the EO says "in order to create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States, and to protect their economic interests, it shall be the policy of the executive branch to rigorously enforce and administer the laws governing entry into the United States of workers from overseas".

Changes to work visas could also be wrapped into a broader immigration bill.

Trump has travelled to promote his agenda less than his recent predecessors.

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