H-1B extension rejections rob Indian IT firms of visa power
Six Indian companies accounted for nearly two-thirds of visa rejections among the top 30 companies.
India’s top IT services companies Infosys and TCS were among the most affected. Bengaluru-based Infosys saw 2,042 rejections, followed by TCS at 1,744. The numbers were put out by the Centre for Immigration Studies, a US think tank, after an analysis of the H-1B data.
Six Indian companies — TCS, Infosys, WiproNSE 0.54 %, Cognizant, and the US arms of Tech Mahindra and HCL Technologies — accounted for nearly two-thirds of the rejections among the top 30 companies, the think tank said after analysing data put out by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
H-1B visas, which are used by the majority of technology professionals, are initially given for three years with the option of an extension for a similar term.
TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Cognizant declined to comment. HCL Technologies could not comment immediately.
‘Could Impact Growth of Businesses’
Experts are of the view that “increased scrutiny or adjudicatory standards” for Indian IT companies could impact the growth of businesses, especially at a time when these firms have drastically reduced fresh H-1B work petitions.
Shivendra Singh, head of global trade development at the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), said: “There are data points that say there is a skill shortage in the US. If there is a challenge to the process of bridging the gap, then it is going to impact the competitiveness of the economy. That is something we have been highlighting for some time.”
In January, the US introduced a new rule effective April that will include work visa petitions of US advanced degree holders for the lottery of the first 65,000 H-1B visas. This would favour US companies looking for Indian talent over Indian IT services companies that largely employ those holding a bachelor’s degree.
An April 2018 study by the National Foundation for American Policy, a US think tank, said Amazon, Microsoft, Intel and Google were among the top 10 employers cornering H-1B visas in 2017. These companies, which typically pay higher salaries than Indian firms, attract more high-skilled talent.
In contrast, the top seven Indian IT services firms saw a drop in visas to 8,468 in 2017 from 14,792 in 2015. Indian firms had complained last year about the increased rejection of their visa applications.
However, legal experts say that with Indian IT companies being the largest users of H-1B visas, it follows that the increase in (overall) rejections will result in an increase in absolute numbers for Indian companies.