US Indian Communities Panic Over H1B Visa Reform

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington: Chaos and confusion have donned on the Indian communities in the United States after Trump had signed the executive order on immigration banning seven Muslim countries. The communities, especially the techies, have become anxious about the possibility of Trump signing another order on H-1B visa program.

Adding to the heat, the news of a bill that was introduced in the House of Representative on January 24th by Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren regarding the amendment of H-1B and L-1 visa program made the H-1B community jittery.

President Donald Trump has promised during the election campaign that he would amend the H-1B visa – increase the minimum wage on H-1B from $60,000 to $100,000, and limit the number of visas issued annually. As he intends to fulfill his election promises one by one, the H-1B visa holders fear that he would soon get to amend the visa program. Whether Trump waits for the Congress to act upon the amendment proposal or uses his executive order is the question that is making many visa holders restless. 

The White House is already facing a lot of pressure on the executive order Trump has signed recently on immigration. The House has defended by saying that the ban is not a ban, but an improvement to the existing vetting process. At this time, will they be willing to go for another executive order that is going to impact and disrupt many lives? Only Trump and his team may have an answer to this question at this time.

However, the president may also choose to wait and support the Congress to amend the visa program and make it a law. There are already a few bills in the Congress introduced and proposed by many Congressmen.

Potential Impact Unnerves H-1B Holders

The impact on visa community depends on which path the amendments take place. If Donald Trump uses executive order, the impact is hard to imagine. Going by his election promise, the minimum wage for H1B holder would raise to $100,000.

However, if the Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017introduced by Zoe Lofgren, shapes into a law, the minimum wage rises to $130,000, which is more than double the current wage requirement to exempt from non-displacement and attestation, creating a massive impact.

According to Lofgren, any such increase in wages remove the “per country” cap for employment based immigrant visas and allows employers to seek out best around the world.

Another bill introduced by Republican representative from California Darrell Issa on January 4th, might also see light, which could amend visa program, but not as aggressively as the bill by Lofgren.

Indian IT Companies Most Affected

Indian outsourcing companies are the most affected by the potential dangers of the amendments than the technology giants, such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, where the wages are relatively higher than that of Indian IT companies.

Infosys, Wipro, and Tata Services, take the maximum hit by the amendments, the stocks of which have already fallen by about 9 percent. According to The Economic Times the companies are already looking at Chinese markets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.