Nasscom proposes new service visa to replace H-1B

Nasscom proposes new service visa to replace H-1B

By SiliconIndia   |    21 Comments
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Nasscom proposes new service visa to replace H-1B
Bangalore: Nasscom, the IT body of India, has proposed a new category of service visas for the U.S. to replace the controversial H-1B visa. The service visa will allow company to send their employees to the U.S. on work for a certain period and will not lead to immigration or permanent residency.

Nasscom has kicked off the dialogue process with key Congressmen and industry groups, such as TechAmerica, Compete America and the U.S. India Business Council, for the proposed change in visa. It is also encouraging a more comprehensive debate on the issue of immigration abuse rather than limiting it only to H-1B or L1 visas.

Som Mittal, President, Nasscom said, "We do not wish to encourage the abuse of visas for immigration. Our objective is to get the work done and bring back our people. There are 11,000-12,000 Indians who go to the U.S. for work and their average stay is less than two years."

In April this year, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban proposed a legislation to limit both H-1B and L1 visas and force firms with over 50 percent of their staff as H-1B and L-1 visa holders to hire U.S. locals, sending alarm bells through the Indian IT industry. Nasscom's move, if successful, will protect the interests of the Indian IT industry by allowing them to continue sending their employees to the U.S. on service visas for the duration of the work. "There is a need to differentiate between matters of trade and immigration," said Mittal.

Ganesh Natarajan, Vice-Chairman, Zensar Technologies said, "The service visa will enable U.S. companies to avail the best of Indian talent without worrying about immigration issues. It will not have residency or permanent citizenship implications," said Ganesh Natarajan, Vice-Chairman, Zensar Technologies.

IT firms, both Indian and multinational, are one of the largest users of H1-B visas. In the past few years, there have many unsuccessful attempts to restrict the use of H1-B visas through legislations that have proposed a cap on the number of visas that can be issued.

According to industry estimates, there are about 12,000 employees from Indian IT firms and 10,000 from American IT firms that go to the U.S. annually on these visas. This year, due to slowdown and reduced demand for technology services, only around 45,000 H-1B visas have been issued compared to the total available 65,000 H-1B visas.

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Reader's comments(21)
1: Why do you guys need h1b. Why do you need to work in US. Why can't Indians create their own job. Why always interested in body shoping.
Posted by:rhr - 07 Sep, 2009
2: I dont get it.There is something missing.

1. US Senators have said that they will limit H1 & L1 visas .They never said they will eliminate it completely.
2. Congress would take this proposal and reject it conviniently because the service visa does not solve the jobs issue in US.
3. There are a lot of information missing in this article that I stated above.A lot of statistics is been provided on current slowdown and correlated H1B visa counts why isnt any information shared on the count of proposed service visa counts.Why is the statistical data missing.

Overall ,service visa seems to be way of Nascomm to solve some other problem which cannot be/isnt expressed in this article.
Posted by:Mehul - 03 Sep, 2009
3: Nothing is gonna happen. Its free country.
Posted by:Reddy - 01 Sep, 2009
4: i think it will adversely effect usa only.
people will extraordinary ability will come to usa for work of 2-3 yrs,earn money for them and for their indian companies and will take all back to india.ALSO AN INDIAN ONLY WILL REPLACE HIS/HER JOB AS PER POLICIES OF MOST IT in my view h1b,L1,new proposed visa etc should be scrapped and workers with extra ordinary ability should be given green card.This will eventually benefit us economy and great persons with their great ideas will kept US economy,technology and leadership moving on.
Posted by:HARDIK - 01 Sep, 2009
5: It's pathetic. It's a conspiracy by the top five companies in India to get more business. Selfish people, should be hanged.
Posted by:Sam - 31 Aug, 2009
6: nasscom's intension is reasonable -- "not to get pounded". but, it is definitely be a dream to nasscom, in the path to us.
Posted by:zee - 31 Aug, 2009
7: There is no need to debate on this, because US people are not fools to agree this, if they agree they don't gain from this. They know they want talented to settle in US and help them. These VISA are only to give business to junk work force where one good guy will work and ten others will enjoy in offshoring.
Posted by:prakash - 31 Aug, 2009
8: I believe that it's not a wise decision by Nasscom. It will restrict Indians to go to USA. End of the day, it is individual's decision to take PR in USA or not and many of those individuals actually come back to India.

However, this VISA will restrict to work there only so if somebody wants to live there, they actually CANNOT. It's a shameful decision indeed.
Posted by:Praveer - 31 Aug, 2009
Correct no one will go to USA if you want to just make money then you can rather go to singapore or some other gulf country people want to imigrate to USA so that we can live better lifes rather than getting stuck in India with a pathetic life
Krishnan Replied to: Praveer - 31 Aug, 2009
10: I hate to say,NASSCOM Guys who proposed this are bunch of self minded inviduals, instead of safeguarding the interst of Indian IT fraternity they chose appeasement of politicians. It is quite shameful! with these sort of views certainly they don't represent true spectrum of Indian IT.
The law makers in USA are not against permanent residency but against improper utilization of H1/L1 visa by the Indian Big 10, that need to be addressed than unnessary ideas. GUYS GROW BIG!
Posted by:Jaihind - 31 Aug, 2009
Yes, NASSCOM is association of INDIA it companies. It will not represent IT workforce. There should be as association of indian it workforce to safegaurd its rights. WE NEED IT.
vijay Replied to: Jaihind - 01 Sep, 2009
12: Its a bad idea .. its against democracy and people freedom. Permanent residency to any place is person's wish and calibre.You cannot force for people to come back.
Posted by:Arpita - 31 Aug, 2009
13: NASSCOM is thinking only for their benefit and want to "SLAVE" the Indian employees. Employees should think the cons of such proposals and raise their voice.
Posted by:Amar - 31 Aug, 2009
I agree with Amar as NASSCOM is trying to create monopoly with Indian IT Human resources by means of restricing the H1-B visa years as said above. In U.S H1-B Visa category has created in 1996 for Human resoruces who got higher education and with IT skills (which U.S needs as forecasting the lesser availablity the same) forcesing the not apply any restrictions (monopoly) on H1-B visa holder. Am wondering how come NASSCOM restrict the H1-B visa years as it is in control of US Immigration authorites, if NASSACOm thinks in that be it is myth, It is only temporary IT statment. India is an Democratic country with High end Human resources who are capable of working in Global Universe and NASSAM may not restrict knowdlgeble resoruces by imposing the restrictions like this.
Srinivas Replied to: Amar - 31 Aug, 2009
15: Great Idea It helps better utilization and management of resources

Issues are

Pay structure

TAX Implications

Setup Requirements for small and mid sized organizations.

Posted by:Arjun Siddu - 31 Aug, 2009
16: This is not good step. USA has problem with Jobs going away because of this 1-2 years of service work. Indian Inc thinks that they will be fooled by this silly and senseless proposal which only benefits India Inc so that their employee doesn't quit company after 1-2 years of work. USA didnt have problem with immigrant who becomes USA citizens after working their because their pay scale will be as competitive as any other American. But problem which USA has with deploying Indians for 1-2 years after removing an Americal for the job. Really Indian NASSCOM has proved their narrow minded thinking and planning.
Posted by:Arpit - 31 Aug, 2009
Excellent points. As an US citizen, of Indian origin, I understand your viewpoint - you are 100% correct in your assessment
Rahul Replied to: Arpit - 31 Aug, 2009
18: It is good to know that the software body is taking steps to improve things in this regard.
Posted by:sitaras - 31 Aug, 2009
I think the visa type is reasonable. Donno why some people are getting so emotional - "against democracy and people freedom", blah blah. You get a chance to visit US through comapanies (Indian or American) so it is upto them how to hande their resource. Besides, there are many Indians who do not want to immigrate and this is really good for them.
Collarations in the field of Research and Art industry (apart from just IT) will increase since comming to US for work will be the only priority not the immigration.
NRG Replied to: sitaras - 31 Aug, 2009
wow !this is crazy.a bunch of people who dont have the ability to lead a 20 member team are questioning the ways of people who are leading 20 million people.

the bottom line is that most IT professionals have their jobs because the people of who are the current members of NASSCOM. People shouldnt be forgetting that these are the people who would contribute to the economy in terms of revenue and also create more jobs.

i agree with NRG on this. why do you have to get emotional about it. How does it hurt India or USA ?It is only going to bring more jobs to both the countries.
Although it still remains a matter of debate that if an H1 or an L1 visa holder replaces an american job or not.we cant conclude that it is true just because some US politicians are trying to cover their mess by taking the attention of the crowd to a irrelevant matter.

Sunny Replied to: NRG - 31 Aug, 2009
A new service visa is unwarranted. US Govt agreeing to this new visa means that they accept H1/L1 programs failed miserably. For a company, it is more trade oriented but for an employee, it is immigration. Fixing loopholes in the existing programs is good enough.

The possibility of getting Permanent residency (PR) was the carrot for most IT employees in India that brought them to US for work. Hence the H1 visa category thrived (although spouses on H4 can't work) all these years. With the new service visa proposed, the person on H1 can't gain an employment based PR and neither the spouse can work. This can lead to exploitation and also disrupts family life if kids can't stay for a full school year in any country.

Now, is this good or bad ? This is good for companies who want to hire brilliant minds from India and also not risk losing them becoz of PR/immigration reasons. This is not so good for IT employees who want to migrate to US eventually. IT jobs would make less attractive for the new comers. For the US Govt, this is new channel for generating revenue (fees for getting new service visa, renewing it etc).
Naveen Replied to: Sunny - 31 Aug, 2009