Tech companies, both in India and US, have been on high alert since a bill was introduced in the US Senate last week, asking for tighter rules governing the H-1B work visa programme. The Trump administration has drafted an executive order which could change the way American companies recruit people, as it would make them try and hire Americans first, and if they have to recruit foreign workers, priority would have to be given to the most highly paid. H-1B visas are generally used by Indian tech firms like Infosys and Wipro to send skilled workers to the United States.
Given the development, a delegation of Indian tech CEOs is scheduled to meet with US government officials on February 20, to try and dissuade them from changing the rules for the H-1B visa. "We want to put across to the new administration and the lawmakers what would be lost by America closing those doors," said R Charashekhar, President, Nasscom, who will be part of the delegation visiting the US over four days. "We are parallelly pursuing our own course of action," he added.
The bill, called the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness act of 2017 was put forth by congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Amongst other things, the bill aims to reset the annual wage for H-1B visa holders from $60,000, to $130,000. This means that companies will have to bear higher costs for recruiting foreign workers.