Information technology (IT) stocks saw heavy selling on domestic bourses on Friday amid media reports that suggested US President Donald Trump was considering suspending a number of employment visas including the H-1Bs in view of the massive unemployment in America due to the coronavirus pandemic
Weighed down by the reports, the IT index on the National Stock Exchange fell 1.5% to 14,402 levels with most stocks ending in the red. Except for Hexaware, all the 9 other IT stocks on Nifty IT close din red with over 3% fall registered in Tech Mahindra, 2.25% in Wipro, almost 2% in NIIT Tech and 1.85% drop in Infosys. HCL Tech and TCS fell 1.4% each, followed by 0.5 to 1% loss in Tata Elexis, Just Dial and Mindtree. This was in contrast to NSE Nifty that closed at 9,972, rising 70 points or 0.72%.
On the Bombay Stock Exchange, BSE IT index ended1.48% lower at 14,371 with 34 stocks in the negative terrain against 15 stock rising. The index has fallen 1.38% in the last week.
In addition to the H-1B visas, that are the most sought-after for foreign work visas among technology professionals from India, reports suggested that suspension could apply to the H-2B visa for short-term seasonal workers. Though visa holders already in the country are unlikely to be affected, any new H-1B holder outside the country will be suspended from coming to work until the suspension is lifted.
"The administration is currently evaluating a wide range of options, formulated by career experts, to protect American workers and job seekers especially disadvantaged and underserved citizens - but no decisions of any kind have been made," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
The White House, however, said that no final decision has been made and the administration is considering various proposals.
The move could have adverse effects on Indian techies who account for nearly 70 per cent of all H-1B visa holders. Top Indian firms with a presence in the US are Cognizant, Accenture, Capgemini, Wipro, and Infosys.