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India's outsourcers fume over new US immigration bill

H-1B rage at 'discriminatory' new proposals

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Indian outsourcing body NASSCOM has labelled a new immigration bill being considered by the US as “discriminatory”.

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act could bring in sweeping reforms including limiting the number of H-1B visas – the class of visa granted to temporary foreign workers – which a company can hold.

Providing such workers is a stock-in-trade for India’s multi-national outsourcing firms such as Infosys and Wipro which are deploying an increasingly sizeable presence abroad as nearshoring becomes more popular with customers.

"Surely, we have got huge concerns on the restrictions that are being proposed in the Senate Bill. There is discrimination because it is based on visa dependent companies versus non-visa dependent companies." NASSCOM President Som Mittal told reporters, according to Economic Times.

"It puts restrictions on our ability to service our customers and prevents our ability to have a level-playing competition in the US.”

Analyst firm Gartner has also been looking at the proposed bill and agrees, arguing that “it would greatly limit the ability for many India centric service providers to deploy specific resources in the US”.

“One potential impact to US enterprises with offshore outsourcing contracts is that costs would go up due to increased bill rates,” said analyst Frances Karamouzis in a canned statement.

“This may also cause a supply and demand imbalance, resulting in potential service disruption for both users of offshore and those sourcing domestically. As such, risk mitigation and contingency planning are strategic imperatives for enterprises with outsourcing deals that utilize India-based talent.”

NASSCOM’s Mittal has apparently pointed out, however, that Indians working for the country’s outsourcing giants in the US have contributed more than $15bn in taxes and social security payments in the past five years.

"Our Ambassador is actively working [on the issue]. Government of India at the senior levels have written to their counterparts in US,” he added. “I don't think any country wants discriminatory bills to come in. They do not want this to become a trade issue.” ®

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