Trump admin’s H-1B changes could lead to mass deportation of Indians

The proposed US Bill, Protect and Grow American Jobs, is riddled with “onerous conditions” and places “unprecedented obligations” on both Indian IT companies and clients using H-1B visas.

Software body Nasscom said it has flagged its concerns around visa-related issues in the US with the Senators, Congressmen and the administration, and will engage further in a dialogue over the next few weeks over the proposed legislation.

The Bill, which is aligned with President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” vision to protect local jobs for American, proposes new restrictions to prevent abuse and misuse of H-1B visas. It tightens the definition of visa-dependent companies and imposes fresh restrictions in terms of minimum salary and movement of talent.

If the proposal gets approved, it can cause large-scale deportation of H-1B visa holders, a serious impact for high-specialty workers waiting for their Green Card. Once the implementation starts, an estimated 500,000-750,000 H-1B visa holders will be impacted.

The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the US to open up those jobs for Americans, a US source briefed by homeland security officials told McClatchy DC Bureau, which first reported the proposal, Hindustan Times reported.

Apart from prescribing higher minimum wages, the Bill places the onus on clients that they will certify that the visa holder is not displacing an existing employee for a tenure of 5-6 years.

The Bill has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee and is now headed for the US Senate.

The Indian government is yet to react as it has been watching the administration’s previously announced plans to tighten H-1B rules so that American workers can get the job instead of the lower-paid foreigners.

The administration also plans to redefine high specialty professionals for the purpose of H-1B visas.

Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said another “extreme concern” is that “in the name of protecting American jobs, this has been applied only to the so-called visa-dependent companies that translate to Indian companies”.