There are disturbing signals from the Trump administration over likely changes to the H-1B visa program. This is driven by the Presidents campaign promise of Buy American, Hire American.
Reforms part of the executive order include raising the salary eligibility for such visas to $130,000, reversing the extensions granted to the optional practical training programme for foreign graduates in the U.S., start a rigorous monitoring system for companies employing L-1 visa holders and intra-company transferees.
It is a non-immigrant visa program in the United States. It allows employers in the U.S to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. A speciality occupation is defined as an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge.
While the H1B visa program is aimed at hiring highly skilled workers for areas were scarcity of such workers exist. A majority of these visas are awarded to outsourcing firms from India. This has drawn criticism from US politicians as companies like TCS and Infosys are accused of misusing the work visa programme to bring low-level IT workers into the US.
Indian IT firms need to brace themselves for the upcoming challenge. Meanwhile the Indian government should utilize its diplomatic channels so as to influence U.S. policy in this regard.