India Dramatically Affected By U.S. Immigration Visa Policy

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According to a recent article in Knowledge Wharton Today, the software industry in India is not pleased by the recently drafted U.S. immigration bill. Though the overwhelming focus has been on how to deal with the undocumented immigrants currently in the country and whether or not to provide them some clear path to citizenship, the firms are most concerned with the bill’s clauses which map the latest rules for non-immigrant visas.

The bill does not allow the outplacement of H-1B visa holders who are more than 15 percent of a U.S. company’s workforce. The proportion of H-1B visas workers as well as L1 visa workers is also limited to 50 percent of a company’s total workforce as of fiscal year 2017, which starts in October of 2016. Large numbers of Indian-based employees are sent by their companies to work at U.S.-based client locations on H-1B or L1 temporary work visas. If the currently-drafted immigration bill is passed, firms in India will be forced to drastically cut down on the number of employees they can send abroad. The cut in workforce will adversely affect both Indian- and U.S.-work sectors. The CEO research director of Offshore Insights, Sudin Apte, estimates that his visa employees make up between 60 and 70 percent of U.S.-sent, offshore workers for the IT research and advisory firm. India-based companies have between 35 and 60 percent of their employees working on H-1B visas, which means the bill will dramatically affect how those firms can distribute their employees for clients.

India-based IT firms will likely have to employee far more U.S. residents, which will increase their own overhead for wages and benefits. Company heads also report that the bill also requires than they pay higher wages to H-1B visa holders and pay more for visa fees overall. Earnings for fiscal year 2017 could be between 60 and 120 basis points lower than previous years, and earnings-per-share could see as much as a 3-to-6 percent dip.

While Indian-based executives state they understand the need for U.S. immigration reform, the H-1B and L1 visa limitations will overwhelmingly affect the Indian ,marketplace like no other country which sends temporary visa workers to the country.

India has the largest applicants of H1B and L1 visas globally and currently has a 55 percent market share of the global IT outsourcing industry. The IT sector makes up approximately 4 percent of India’s GDP and the U.S. makes up close to 60 percent India’s software exports.

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Immigration Reform Not Likely To Pass This Year

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A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 54 percent of voters polled stated they favored the eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Eighteen percent of those polled stated that they would allow those who are undocumented to stay in the U.S. without allowing them citizenship, while the remaining 28 percent polled stated that they should be deported.

Though immigration has long been a hot-button issue, it seems the U.S. House has decided to delay further examination of several immigration bills while still grappling with how to approach a mostly Republican-backed desire for greater border security. It is expected that most revisions to immigration law which will affect individuals already residing in the country will not be determined until next year.

The House is now beginning to put a strategy into place for the rewrite that is needed of immigration laws, more than six months after the Senate-began its negotiations and weeks after the broad plan was passed.

Senate bill S. 744 proposes a path to citizenship for the more than11 undocumented immigrants who are residing in the United States and undocumented, along with a plan for border security which would cost $46 billion. Though most Senate Democrats and 14 Republicans passed the bill, a large number of House Republicans have stated that they are opposing the current citizenship path proposal. House Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly stated that the Senate bill would not be addressed any time soon, while Louisiana Representative John Fleming stated that any action this July on the bill was “100 percent unlikely.”

House Republicans met for a members-only meeting in July during which they reaffirmed that they would approach the immigration legislation decisions via individual bills. They plan to vote on how to strengthen U.S. border security before they move to other immigration reform issues. Boarder security and the enforcement of current immigration laws were the top priority, Boehner said. He did not comment on whether or not he thought the legislation which included the much-touted citizenship path plan would be passed, a plan which includes a provision not unlike President Obama’s DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is structured to fast-track the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who came to the country as children and who have gone on to serve in the military or attend college.

President Obama has stated that he hoped to sign comprehensive immigration legislation by the end of 2012. Agreeing on citizenship pathways and border security continue to be a major hurdle for both the House and Senate. Grassroots supporters from business communities, from faith groups and social action communities have been lobbying for the Senate to move forward quickly, to little effect.

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