Monday, 24 January, 2022
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India braces for US restrictions on H-1B, L-1 visas, making efforts to lessen impact on firms

Top official, however, says Indian IT companies are not going to be impacted much because they have made adjustments to get work done remotely and taken cost-cutting measures.

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New Delhi: India is learnt to be making all efforts to stall what it dreaded the most all these years — US imposing massive restrictions on non-immigrants visas such as the H-1B, L-1, F-1 and H-4. 

Despite hectic talks at diplomatic levels between India and the US, it is now “confirmed” that the Donald Trump administration will go ahead with the move “only to play to his domestic gallery” as the fight for Presidential elections heats up in America, a top official told ThePrint.

“The political situation in the US is getting complicated and the Trump administration has to take such a move to pacify his domestic constituency. Restriction of various kinds will be put in place for non-immigrant visas, but there are a lot of dimensions to it,” said the official, who didn’t want to be named.

He also said New Delhi has taken up the matter with over 50 US senators and have been making all efforts to “stall the process” or at least lessen its impact as companies are beginning to work remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic and even after it subsides.

According to the official, however, Indian IT companies are not going to be impacted much by such a move because “they have made adjustments under the pandemic as they have realised that some critical work can also be done remotely” even as they have gone for streamlining workforce and other cost-cutting measures.

“There will be dilution of some restrictions. It will be a temporary suspension, they will not go in for a full closure. Post the elections, they have to relax these provisions because the US knows economically it is not a viable proposition but President Trump is under pressure from all quarters, so he has to do it,” the official said.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order soon that will put wide-ranging restrictions on various work visas.

In an interview to Fox News last week, Trump said while he will put restrictions on the visas, there will be exceptions for “big businesses” that have been dependent on these visas for a long time. 


Also read: Trump’s immigration order could halt work visa entries, including H-1B, for few months


US business groups against move

The US Chamber of Commerce had written to Trump earlier this month, saying such a move will not just impact India, which consumes H-1B visas the most, but it will also put hurdles on the American economy due to shortage of work.

“Policies that would, for example, impose wide-ranging bans on the entry of non-immigrant workers or impose burdensome new regulatory requirements on businesses that employ foreign nationals would undermine that access to talent, and, in the process, undercut our economy’s ability to grow and create jobs,” Tom Donohue, CEO, US Chamber of Commerce, wrote in the letter.

He said short-term disruptions in visas such as the L-1 and H-1B would also adversely impact the ability of US businesses “to make long-term planning and domestic investment decisions”.

Meanwhile, Washington-based Information Technology Industry Council has also expressed concern over the move, asking the Trump administration not to tinker with the work visas under such a challenging situation arising due to the pandemic.

A study by the National Foundation for American Policy also said such a move would not help American workers.


Also read: Donald Trump employs racist term ‘Kung flu’ to describe coronavirus at rally


 

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