Infosys, Cognizant, others form lobbying consortium

Venkatesh Ganesh K. Giriprakash Bangalore | Updated on November 23, 2017 Published on August 13, 2013

To lobby for changes in US Immigration Bill

A group of eight Indian IT companies have formed a lobby to influence the US Congress to drop crucial clauses in an Immigration Bill. It is feared that the Bill, if passed, could sound a death knell to their businesses. Among the principal players in the lobby are Infosys, Cognizant, Mindtree and Hexaware.

The consortium plans to engage with immigration lawyers and legal experts to counter what could be detrimental to Indian IT exporters’ interests.

“We have encouraged member companies to form their consortium and engage in lobbying,” Mindtree Chief Executive Officer K.K. Natarajan told Business Line. Natarajan is also the current Chairman of Nasscom. Others, like TCS, HCL Technologies, Wipro and Tech Mahindra, are chalking up plans to join the consortium.

The strategy is a departure from the past, when Nasscom used to represent the interests of Indian IT exporters.

A few months back, the US Senate approved H1B and L1 Visa Reform Act of 2013, which ensures that an H1-B application filed by an employer that employs 50 or more US workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50 per cent of its workforce are H1B and L visa holders.

The Bill, if passed, poses twin dangers to Indian IT exporters — it is likely to push up costs and disrupt their global delivery model.

“If the Bill in its current form gets passed, it will be the end of the global delivery model that the Indian exporters talk about,” said Rajkamal Rao, Managing Director of Rao Advisors and a former director with PwC in the US.

Rao, who is also writing a book on the US immigration Bill, said there was also a possibility of both the Senate and the House agreeing on the provisions of the H1-B clause. In case that happens, it could get tucked into another unrelated Bill for it to get passed.

Rao also said that it is a myth to believe that US companies like IBM and Accenture will also get affected by the Bill.

“Majority of their workforce works out of the US and they have their own powerful lobbies which will see to it that they are exempt from such provisions,” he said.

Published on August 13, 2013
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