India, the largest exporter of IT workforce to the US, could be jolted if the H-1B Visa Bill, which was tabled in the House of Representatives today, becomes a law.
The country's biggest IT companies, TCS, Infosys, Wipro and others, that enjoy significant cost advantages by sending Indian engineers to the US, are likely to be hit if the minimum salary cap for H-1B visas is raised to $130,000 from its current $60,000.
In anticipation of the eventuality, India's top four IT company stocks plunged on the Bombay Stock Exchange today. Mashable India reached out to these companies but they declined comment.
Meanwhile, NASSCOM, the industry body for software and services companies, was not pleased with the development. "The bill does not treat all IT service companies with H-1B visa holders equally, and the provisions are biased against H-1B dependent companies," it said in a statement.
"The bill does nothing to address the underlying shortage of STEM-skilled workers, which has led all companies to have a calibrated strategy of hiring locally and bridging the skills gap by bringing skilled workers on non-immigrant visas including H-1Bs," it added.
India happens to be the largest receiver of H-1B visas in the world. The US issued more than a million visas to Indians in 2016, which accounted for 70% of all H1B visas issued worldwide, according to news reports.
IT analysts reckon that the new law, if and when it passes, will have far-reaching implications not only on Indian companies but on the US economy as well since most US-based Fortune 500 organisations are "deeply invested and dependent" on Indian IT services providers.
"Skilled foreign workers who come to work in the US by the route of H1-B visas don’t just directly supplement the US IT industry with specialized skillsets, they also contribute indirectly to other industries in the US. Often H1-B workers bring their families along and thereby bring additional business for other industries like real estate, banking, hospitality to name a few. The effects of this announcement will impact the GDP and the overall business economy and growth of US," says Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst at Greyhound Research
While the final outcome of the Bill is yet to be known, NASSCOM said it will continue to engage with the US administration and legislators both directly and through the Government of India. The focus would be on highlighting the value contribution of India’s IT sector as a “net creator” of jobs in the US.