Will The New US Visa Issuing Process Discriminate Against Non-US Business

With the US government moving closer to changing the process of issuing H1B visas. Indian information technology companies are worried about adverse impact. The new norms are expected to come into force next year.

Last week the Office of Management and Budget of the United States said it had completed a review of a proposed regulation from the Department of Homeland Security. One that would mandate employers to register without paying the H-1B visa fees of those employees whom they intend to sponsor for H-1B visa permits. A lottery system would shortlist people for the work permits, following which the applications would be accepted, Economic Times reported.

Indian companies, however, fear that the process of issuing visas would be non-transparent. Resulting in the US favoring US technology companies over them.

Under the H1B visa program, skilled foreign workers are allowed to work in the US for a limited period. Indian software majors such as Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services use such permits to bring in their professionals to service clients in the US.

Of the 85,000 H1B work visas granted each year, an overwhelming number of recipients are Indians. But ever since Donald Trump came to power the administration has been trying to tighten norms for such visas.

Visa Rejections Increase

In the past four years, the number of visa application rejections for Indian companies has been on the rise. According to National Foundation for American Policy, the visa denial rate for Tata Consultancy Services went up. From 6% in the 2015 fiscal year to 37% during the first quarter of FY19 (October-December 2018). In the same period for Infosys, it has gone up 57% from 2%, while HCL has increased 43% from 2%. For Wipro it has shot up to 62% from 7%.

Indian companies feel through the lottery system they may lose out to US-based consulting companies like Accenture or IBM.

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