NASSCOM’s Chandrasekhar says no positive development seen from US on visa front

Opinion | Who needs Nasscom’s guidance, IT is on the fast track

There have not been any positive developments on the US visa front, and multiple minor negative developments are dampening the mood for Indian IT companies, according to NASSCOM President R Chandrasekhar.

As part of ongoing efforts to impose stricter regulations on immigration and visas, the Trump administration recently made the renewal of non-immigrant visas such as H-1B more difficult. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said the burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition and all conditions since then have remained unchanged.

In an interview discussing the impact with CNBC-TV18, Chandrasekhar pointed out that the discontinuation of expedited visa processing plus stringent scrutiny of application has already increased processing time. But, more such measures to further tighten norms cannot be ruled out.

Chandrasekhar reiterated experts’ opinion that H1-B visa system has helped the United States in filling the gaps that exist in the US economy. Fundamental problem of skill shortage in the US continues to remain, he said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a recent meeting, raised the H-1B issue with her US counterpart Rex Tillerson, saying nothing should be done by the Trump administration which may “adversely” impact India’s interests. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also highlighted India’s concerns over the issue during his recent visit to the US.

Chandrasekhar said the number of Indian companies applying for H-1B visas has reduced by 50 percent in the last couple of years and the number is expected to go down further due to the negativity surrounding the visas.

While he sees low growth for Indian IT companies in the current year, he expects some improvement in 2018. There is no case yet to change current year guidance of 7-8 percent growth for the industry, he said.