You can almost tell which way the Trump administration is leaning with regards to the H-1B visa by the simple expedient of keeping an eye upon the stock prices for Indian IT firms. Monday saw a sharp decline in the same after President Trump’s government announced that it was temporarily suspending expedited applications for H-1B visas.
US shares of Infosys Ltd fell 1.2 percent while Wipro Ltd dropped by 0.2 percent. Cognizant Technology Solutions followed its peers in dropping by 1.7 percent. This came right after after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it was suspending the premium processing of the visas for up to a period of six months. The announcement came on Friday and since it was followed by the weekend, some of the effects were probably absorbed over the two day gap that followed.
Meanwhile. both Infosys and Wipro registered a sharp decline in stock after President Trump was elected back in November. The concerns issued from the newly anointed President’s election promise upon cracking down upon easy visa processes and ensuring that more jobs were given to US citizens. However, the whole matter got bogged down for a while as attention shifted to the more controversial middle-east ban.
Another factor that helped these companies recover was the fact that any decision of this magnitude was almost certain to be challenged in the courts. And we have already seen that the US courts don’t think too long before suspending an order that according to them, isn’t the best reflection of the constitution.
A long drawn out legal battle was almost certain if the Trump administration actually went ahead with a move of the sort. The time would have given companies to step up their game and seek ways around the problem. Ways that include lobbying.
Meanwhile, USCIS has said that it is suspending the process so as to reduce a backlog of pending visa petitions. While the organization claims that it was doing it to ensure that the overall H-1B processing time was reduced, the last I checked, the administration wasn’t terribly keen upon inviting Indian professionals to the US.
Meanwhile, Indian organizations are not the only one lobbying against the proposed changes. Many US organizations are against the rule as well as it will force them to hire more expensive US workers, thus increasing spending. For now though, President Trump seems intent upon playing it out as per his election promises.