Ever since we have received news of the Trump administration going on to commit yet another blunder, in its already blunderous tenure so far, we have been receiving reactions from all facets of industry on how this bill could prove detrimental to the Indian IT sector in particular.
NASSCOM now, has come out in sharp criticism against the introduction of bill, indicating that this will not take the Trump administation anywhere in its dream of saving American Jobs.
In a detailed analysis of the Bill sent to us, NASSCOM says,
The Lofgren Bill contains provisions that may prove challenging for the Indian IT sector and will also leave loopholes that will nullify the objective of saving American jobs.
The focus would be on highlighting the value contribution of India’s IT sector as a “net creator” of jobs in the US where it has helped American businesses by providing high-skilled IT solutions in order to innovate, open new markets, and expand operations – creating thousands of jobs for Americans.
NASSCOM has further laid out some specific provisions in the bill, which are needed to be looked upon at, concerning the Indian IT sector. These provisions are :
- The bill does nothing to address the underlying shortage of STEM-skilled workers, which has led all companies to have a calibrated strategy of hiring locally and bridging the skills gap by bringing skilled workers on non-immigrant visas including H-1Bs.
- The bill does not treat all IT service companies with H-1B visa holders equally, and the provisions are biased against H-1B dependent companies.
- The bill does nothing to consider regional variations in salary structure, which could help some states and hurt others.
- The higher wage level would have ripple effects for many other industries including nursing, engineering, life sciences, and others.
Talking to us on the impact passage of such a bill might have, noted IT industry veteran Dr. Ajay Data, CEO of Jaipur-based Data Infosys said,
In this modern world of Internet and Digital age, where whole world is considered as one Global Village, it is complete backward to think about one’s own country in isolation. What the US President is thinking and planning to implement, is very short term and off course damaging to Indian IT Industry.
What is this Bill after all !
Just so you understand the very dynamics of this Bill, the reforms suggested in the bill titled ‘High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017’ has been presented by California Congressman Zoe Lofgren. The major change that has been put forth in this bill includes more than doubling the minimum salary for H-1B visa holders from $60,000 to $130,000. This is at least 200 percent higher than the wage calculated by survey and eliminates the category of lowest pay.
This is the minimum threshold at which H-1B employers are exempt from non-displacement and recruitment attestation requirements. The raise in salary level has been taken to a new required wage level of 35 percentile points above the median national annual wage — $132,000. Talking about the same, Lofgren adds,
My legislation refocuses the H-1B programme to its original intent — to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly-paid, and highly-skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them.
The congresswoman has put forth this reform bill to refocus the attention of the said work-visa programme towards supplementing the U.S workforce, instead of replacing it. This solution, she says, removes the per country cap for employment-based immigrant visas. The congresswoman believes, all workers will be treated more fairly and this will hence lead to the implementation of a system where employers hire the most skilled workers.
However, even though Lofgren talks about skilled workers, a basic understanding missing here, is the fact that there is an acute shortage of skilled STEM workers in the US. India’s biggest IT firms had repeatedly voiced concerns that they have been unable to find the right skillset in native Americans. What Lofgren and perhaps the entire Trump admin fails to understand, is the fact these foreign companies have actually been helping develop the right skill set in American people, to make them job ready for better opportunities.