Tech firms walk U.S. visa tightrope

Tech firms walk U.S. visa tightrope

Tech firms walk U.S. visa tightrope

The order tightens the rules for technology companies seeking to bring highly skilled foreign workers to the United States.

The President's executive order directs the federal bureaucracy to enforce visa law more vigorously, and to study new ways to reform and restrict the H-1B system.

The executive order aims to shift the visa program from a lottery system to targeting jobs with a high need for skilled workers. Such a change could significantly impact large Indian IT companies which bring thousands of engineers and programmers on H-1B visas to work on U.S. projects, says IT analyst Girish Pai.

The order, which Trump signed after delivering his remarks, looks to bolster protections for certain American-made goods.

"With the United States administration trying to strictly enforce the law for H-1B visas, Indian IT firms will see a tremendous cost pressure". Most Indian IT companies get over 60 percent of their revenues from the North American market. It instructs the agency to pay special attention to visas which should only go to highly paid, specially skilled applicants when there is a US deficiency. "It's too little, too late", said US Senator Dick Durbin.

"Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery - and that's wrong", he said on Tuesday in Wisconsin, where he signed the order.

The US visa review is not a cause of concern for Indian IT firms as they already comply with all rules, Nasscom's president R Chandrasekhar told CNBC-TV18.

One of Trump's most famous campaign catchphrases was " America first", which he still proudly touts to demonstrate his promise to bring jobs back to the country and to halt the use of cheap migrant labor.

Canada is not the challenge for United States dairy, Trudeau says
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The ban is also expected to levy a blow to the tech industry, as many foreign nationals immigrate on the H-1B visa.

"We are about to take bold new steps to follow through on my pledge to buy American and hire American", President Trump said.

Moreover, the current law and regulations of the H-1B program require that beneficiaries of H-1B visas hold at least a specialised bachelors degree for the position offered and there are anti-fraud and training fees for employers to pay so that the government can maintain programs President Trump is calling for, she said.

While analysts ruled out any major immediate risk from the changes in the US visa process, they said any sweeping reforms could pose a major risk in future and hurt IT companies' margins.

"Buy American" requirements that are written into USA law "have been gutted", he said, by loopholes, allowing too many contracts to go to overseas bidders.

According to data by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, employers submitted 199,000 visa applications against 236,000 applications a year ago.

Hannity then discussed the executive order with Trump Jr., who said his father has done more in the White House than Bush and Obama did in their first two months.

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