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Buy American - Hire American, Higher visa fees and HR 170 Bill add to woes of Indian IT Compaines

© Reuters H-1B visa, visa 

Recent restrictions like the H.R. 170 Bill and doubling of visa fees announced earlier by the Donald Trump-led US administration on work visas for technology workers are mainly set to add up to the woes faced by the Indian outsourcing firms and make them less competitive, according to National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).


© Twitter Prime Minister Modi and President Trump held talks in Manila. [Representational Image]
"The US government's immigration policy is creating an artificial distinction between one company and another," said R Chandrashekhar, president of NASSCOM.
"Our problem, which we have brought to their attention, is that you cannot and should not be doing things which discriminate against Indian companies even though you have not named them," he added.
Nasscom has brought this discrepancy to the attention of the Indian government, the Economic Times reported.
The H.R 170 Bill which is The Protect and Grow American Jobs was passed by the House Judiciary Committee and is currently waiting for the US Senate's approval.

The Bill was proposed to increase the minimum wage for H1-B workers – visas used primarily by the Indian techies from $60,000 to $90,000, annually.


However, the bill also explicitly prohibits the replacement of American workers by H-1B or L-1 visa holders. Further, it also mandates employers to prove they have attempted to hire American workers for the position and sets out stronger actions for the Labour Department to a keep strict watch over H-1B dependent employers, defined as companies whose workforces are comprised of 15 percent or more of H-1B workers.

Also, under the Trump administration, renewals of H1-B visas are also becoming more difficult as more renewals are now subjected to greater scrutiny.

"These are unbelievably onerous conditions. We see this as clearly discriminatory because it affects only the large Indian companies and will have the effect of tilting the playing field against Indian companies," Chandrashekhar said.

Last week, reports also suggested that the Trump administration is planning to set out a new rule in favour of American workers and end the Barack Obama regulation that provides work authorisation to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

The new plan is expected to affect people from India and China as it could stop the spouses of highly skilled foreign workers from working in the United States.

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