New H1-B rules bring more rejections on work visa renewals

  • New H1-B visa rules have been an unwelcome change for Indian IT firms with new visas as well as renewals, according to data by Centre for Immigration Studies.
  • Homegrown IT majors TCS and Infosys faced maximum rejections for extension of the work work visas.
  • According to the US Department of Labour, Deloitte Consulting and Apple received the maximum work permits.
  • Six Indian IT outsourcing companies — TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, HCL and US arm of Tech Mahindra — got only 2,145 work permits, which was 16% of total work visas bagged by companies.

Under the Trump administration, have brought new challenges for applicants of these temporary work visas, heavily used by Indian IT majors.

Now, it appears that renewal of these work visas has also thrown up hurdles, particularly hurting Indian IT majors.

According to the Centre for Immigration Studies, a US-based think tank, top IT firms Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cognizant and Infosys faced the most in extension of H1-B work visas in 2018.

H1-B work visas are initially provided for three years — but can be extended for a similar term later.

With most of its workforce in India, Cognizant witnessed nearly 3,548 rejections for extension of these work visas in the year, which is so far the highest for any company hiring foreign employees. While the homegrown ITs Infosys and TCS saw 2,042 and 1,744 rejections, respectively, said the report.

Analysing a broader range of top 30 IT companies, the analysis also found that the six major outsourcing companies — TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, HCL and US arm of Tech Mahindra — constitute nearly two-third of extensions for work visas. The six outsourcing companies got only 2,145 work permits, which is 16% of total work visas bagged by all companies.

On the flipside, several US-based technology companies — Microsoft, Amazon and Apple– were able to increase their foreign work staff via the new H1-B rules, showing the new regulation in fact benefitted the American companies, noted the report.

A data with the the US Department of Labour, Deloitte Consulting and Apple received the most number of H1-B visas, while only HCL from India made it to the top 10 list with a total of 5,085 certifications in US.

However, many legal experts point that Indian ITs are the largest consumers of H1-B visa. But recent moves by the US government point to growing protectionism. Indian IT companies have also faced backlash by locals for allegedly discriminating against American workers. On Thursday, alleging discrimination at workplace, a US employee filed a against Cognizant for calling an American a ‘diversity candidate.’

“Protectionism happens without making any policy changes to favour their own companies. This slant is not unusual. This has happened under President Barack Obama, not just under Donald Trump,” ET citing Sid Pai, founder of Siana Capital, who has led outsourcing deals of over $ 20 billion in the past.

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