Proposed H-1B visa changes may not hit Indian software engineers

Recently, two U.S. Senators introduced the legislation against the “abuse” of the H-1B visa hitting employment opportunities of the U.S. nationals, and sought reforms to ensure that Americans don’t lose out to foreign employees on jobs and pay packages.

The Bill was introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley, Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, and Dick Durbin, Assistant Democratic Leader. It is supported by Senators Bill Nelson, Richard Blumenthal, and Sherrod Brown.

“Indian companies or employees need not worry much,” says B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, Chairman of National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the umbrella body of all the IT companies in the country. He relates the development to 2016 being the election year in the U.S. and such emotive issues are likely to come up. “It was introduced earlier too but without success,” he reminds.

However, the NASSCOM will continue to impress upon the U.S. about the contribution of Indian companies and their employees to the U.S. economy. “We created 4,50,000 jobs in the US, paid $ 2 billion as taxes and contributed another $ 6 billion to social security. It’s only a perception that we are taking away jobs meant for the U.S. nationals,” Mr. Reddy reminds.

In fact, he along with the NASSCOM president, R. Chandrasekhar visited the U.S. recently and met 20 U.S. Senators to explain the advantages of the H1-B visas and the contribution of Indian companies to US economy.

Young engineers who plan to work in the U.S. want to wait and see in what form the Bill will get passed, if at all it takes the final shape. Most of these engineers have preferred jobs in the Indian companies rather than going to the U.S. for higher studies so that they can use the H-1B facility to work in the USA. “Changes look imminent but we have to see how the NASSCOM and the Indian government tackle the issue,” says Sreekanth. P, who works in a top software company in Hyderabad.

Americans argue that the H-1B visa was meant for highly specialised areas of employment but foreign companies were dumping lesser skilled workers willing to work at lower wages. Some U.S. Senators have been arguing that the visa was highly misused by companies to make huge profits.