US lobby group echoes Indian IT’s H-1B worries
Lobby group's letter pointed to legal issues with H-1B adjudications under the Donald Trump administration.
In a letter sent on November 1, Compete America highlighted issues faced by its members due to the stand taken by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on grant of work visas for their employees, primarily engineers.
“Our coalition’s members have reported dramatic increases in the issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and denials regarding H-1B petitions for the last 18 months, and more recently are experiencing a sharp increase in the issuance of Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) and Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIRs) concerning H-1B petitions,” stated the letter addressed to Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS); L Francis Cissna, director of USCIS; and legal counsels at the government bodies.
Indian IT companies have been complaining about the increased issuance of request for evidence, which has required them to raise the lead time required for a visa.
Compete America’s letter pointed to legal issues with H-1B adjudications under the Donald Trump administration.
These involve interpretations of salary requirements, specialty of occupation and degree requirements.
“The Compete America coalition asks that both DHS and USCIS legal officers review the agency’s current H-1B adjudications and practices, and provide any clarification needed either internally or with the regulated community prior to the agency’s receipt of FY2020 H-1B cases,” the letter stated.
Experts are of the view that while the Trump Administration has not yet made any overt moves against the H-1B visa, the number of administrative hurdles that companies face have increased.
“Individually none of the regulations are showstoppers, but collectively they increase friction, cost and raise the bar on who is granted H-1Bs,” Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of IT consultancy Everest Research said on Monday in response to questions about tightening Department of Labor rules on H-1B visas.
India’s technology lobby group —National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) — has been requesting the US government to ease visa restrictions. It has spent $440,000 in 2018 on US lobbyists, data from the Centre for Responsive Politics shows, the same amount it has spent in the last two years. Compete America has spent $145,000 so far this year lobbying on immigration, the data shows. Compete America spent $300,000 in 2017.
The visa issues have already begun to impact the profitability of Indian IT companies, ET has previously reported. Companies are hiring local talent in the US and taking a hit on margins to hire sub-contractors in places where there is not enough local talent available.
“During the last 12 months or so, we have also seen certain visa regime changes in the United States that has put certain lead times for the visas. While we have accelerated the localization and local hiring, we still need to meet certain immediate project requirements especially in digital and niche areas,” Infosys CFO MD Ranganath told analysts in October.