US President Donald Trump's decision to temporarily freeze the entry of H-1B visa holders in the country has drawn wide criticism from India's tech lobby.
Issuing a presidential proclamation, the Trump administration has restricted those entering the United States on H-1B visas, L visas, J visas, and H-2B seasonal worker visas. The suspension will come into effect on June 24 and will expire on December 31, 2020.
Criticising the suspension order, Indian IT industry body Nasscom said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump's decision to restrict the entry of H-1B and other temporary visa holders is misguided and harmful to the United States' economy. It urged the President to shorten the duration of this suspension to 90 days.
The move is part of the US government's efforts to curb immigration and help boost local employment in the country.
"Even though our companies have hired tens of thousands of Americans and invested billions of dollars in recent years, they like others in the sector utilise such highly skilled individuals to service their clients. This new proclamation will impose new challenges and possibly force more work to be performed offshore since the local talent is not available," Nasscom articulated in its statement.
TCS and Infosys' exposure to H-1B visas is at 40-50 per cent, while Wipro and HCL Tech's at 30-35 percent. Reacting to the suspension order, Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted, "Immigration has contributed immensely to America's economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today's proclamation - we'll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all."
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also expressed his disappointment with the order in a tweet. He said, "immigration has contributed immensely to America's economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today's proclamation - we will continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all."
Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation - we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 22, 2020
Meanwhile, CP Gurnani, MD, and CEO, Tech Mahindra, feels the Trump administration's curbs on H-1B will have no bearing on the Indian IT industry. He told CNBC-TV18 in an interview that India Inc. is prepared to face unrealistic immigration challenges, adding that it become 'Atma Nirbhar' by not depending too much on H-1B visas.
"India Inc has become a lot Aatma Nirbhar in this context. We were locally hiring and training a lot more engineers so India's own applications for H-1B visas have reduced," Gurnani said.
The order is likely to affect Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro, TCS and HCL Technologies, among others as Indian nationals comprise nearly 70% of the 85,000 H1-B visas granted to foreign workers by the US government every year. Popular work visas such as H-1B and L1 are routinely used by Indian IT firms to send their employees to work on client sites in the US.