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Trump move to ban work visas to impact 4 lakh visa-holders

K Giriprakash Bengaluru | Updated on June 23, 2020 Published on June 23, 2020

Indians constitute 74% of H-1B holders; those already in US on work visas will not be impacted

Nearly 4 lakh visas could be affected by US President Donald Trump’s move to issue a proclamation on Monday barring the Federal government from issuing at least five types of temporary visas, including H-1B, for foreign workers.

Indians will be the largest single group of workers to be impacted, as they would constitute 74 per cent of the H-1B visas to be hit by the ban.

The ban will, however, not impact those who are already in the US on work visas.

‘Disappointed by ban’

Some of the top IT companies in India including TCS, Infosys and Wipro send most of their employees to the US on these H-1B visas. The proclamation will affect hundreds of thousands of visa workers who will not be arriving to the US shores until the end of the year.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc, tweeted that he was disappointed by Trump’s proclamation. “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,” he said on Twitter.

 

According to various reports, the executive action will help preserve half a million jobs for US citizens, most of whom were laid off due to the pandemic. Trump had made a similar argument after he issued a limited visa suspension in April. Reports say that there were 21 million US workers who were on the unemployment list in May.

Will hurt the economy

Indian IT sector lobby group Nasscom said it strongly condemns barring the entry of certain non-immigrants into America.

“The conditions are misguided and harmful to the US economy. Thousands of US corporations, universities, medical facilities, research institutions have directly and through their associations asked the President not to take such action because of the harm it would do now and going forward as the country reopens and recovers. Such sentiments were also echoed by dozens of Republican and Democratic members of Congress and governors,” the lobby group said in a statement.

It said this new proclamation will prevent Indian companies and thousands of other organisations from accessing the talent they need from overseas. “With very few exceptions, Indian nationals and others who are granted new H-1Bs or L-1s as well as other visa types after June 23 will not be allowed to enter the US until the proclamation expires. 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 services their clients. This new proclamation will impose new challenge and possibly force more work to be performed offshore since the local talent is not available,” it said.

The US government issued 1.9 lakh H-1B visas in 2019 and 77,000 L visas the same year. L visas are generally for intra-company transferees in the tech industry.

Business groups including Nasscom, the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Medical Association, Compete America, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Association of American Universities, among others, wrote to the President and his Secretaries that policies such as these undercut the ability to grow and create jobs, inhibit the provision of critical infrastructure services, and add burdensome new regulatory requirements and costs.

“American workers are facing greater challenges than they have in years, but that does not mean that talent shortages do not continue to exist. Despite national unemployment trends across the economy, the National Foundation for American Progress found that the unemployment rate for computer professionals actually went down from 3 per cent in January 2020 to 2.8 per cent in April 2020,” according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey.

“We urge the Administration to shorten the duration of these restrictions to 90 days. Lengthening these burdensome restrictions on US companies that are trying to recover from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic will only serve to harm our economy,” the group said.

Key IT stocks were impacted by the last night's US President proclamation banning non-immigrant visas. TCS stocks fell 0.39 per cent to Rs 2,020, that of Infosys 0.86 per cent to Rs 698.90 and Wipro by 0.48 per cent to Rs 217 on the exchanges.

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Published on June 23, 2020
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