Is US Immigration Reforms Bill good for IT industry?

Infotech Lead India: Several Indian IT companies are crying foul about the recent the US Immigration Reforms Bill, saying it will put controls over the growth of the software business.

On Friday, Wipro expressed concern over the likely procedural impact of the proposed immigration reform bill in the United States, which accounts for more than 50 per cent of its IT services revenues.

Wipro says compliance to procedures itself will create compliance cost and higher turnaround times, which would affect competitiveness.

However, the main relief for IT companies is that the U.S. immigration reforms are going to be operational only next year.

Despite growing criticism from IT players across the country, Synechron, headquartered in New York and Pune with specialization in banking, insurance and financial technology, says the US Immigration Reforms Bill is positive and augurs well for the industry.

Faisal Husain, CEO and Founder, Synechron, says the provision to increase number of H1B visas from the current 65,000 to 110,000 will help companies to address client demands better.

From the standpoint of employees who are on H1B visas, the bill is encouraging as it stipulates a 60-day period to find a new job in the event that they lose the existing one.

Additionally, it will also strengthen Indo-US ties in the outsourcing sector and augment IT sectoral development and trade in both the countries. “We welcome this bill and believe it is a step in the right direction,” Husain said on Friday.

Synechron, founded in 2001, is a globally 4000+ professionals company with presence across the US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, UAE, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and development centers based in Pune, India.

The main contention about the new bill, which has the support from President Barack Obama, is that it offers additional protection to Americans.

For instance, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, 2013 gives the domestic IT professionals in the US a 60-day period to find a new job after they lose the existing one, among several other sweeping reforms.

The Bill seeks to put curbs on the use of H-1B visa for those companies which have a higher ratio of work force under this category.

The bill specifies that if an employer has 50 or more employees, and over 30 per cent but less than 50 per cent are H-1B or L-1 employees (who do not have a green card petition pending), the employer will need to pay a $5,000 fee per additional worker in either of these two statuses, the outline of the bill said.

In case the employer has 50 or more employees and more than 50 per cent of these workers are H-1B or L-1 employees who do not have a green card petition pending, then the companies will have to pay a $10,000 fee per additional worker in either of these two statuses.

Industry body CII urged the US to reject provisions of the Comprehensive Immigration Bill related to H-1B visas, which it alleged are discriminatory in nature, target Indian companies and therefore, is against the spirit of the growing India-US strategic partnership.

The bill also spells out pathway to citizenship for some 11 million illegal immigrants, including some 300,000 Indians.

Recently, software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) said the proposed US immigration bill offers both opportunities as well challenges, but stated it is too early to arrive at a conclusion.

“It is too early to comment. We will have to wait and watch… but it has both opportunities and concerns. Our goal is to engage in the process as the bill is being debated,” said TCS executive vice-president and head of global human resources Ajoy Mukherjee.

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