The US Senate’s vote on Thursday to increase H1-B visa fees for employers from the existing $3500 to $5,000 per application could hit small and mid-sized IT companies hard. The big chaps, software exporters such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro may scrape through with minor scratches.
IT companies send workers abroad to work with banking or financial services companies; the traffic to US is particularly thick. Now, each such such transfer is gong to cost the employer more.
This is not good at all, coming as it does on the heels of the cap of 65,000 introduced on H1-B visas by US in 2007; it was 195,000 before.
“Smaller Indian companies will be hit by this amendment to the current immigration bill since they would not be able to bear this extra visa cost,” says Amar Chintopanth, CFO, 3i infotech.
According to sector analysts top tier Indian IT companies demand and get $60 an hour for work done by temps, whereas smaller firms charge around $25 per hour. This could mean that Indian companies, for whom the cost per employee is around $50,000 will have to bear this cost, and work out more ways to cover this cost.
IT majors declined comment. However, industry body Nasscom's president Kiran Karnik said: "India's information technology sector has generated thousands of jobs in the US by setting up offices and development facilities across the country and it would be unfair to brand them as someone who are looking to replace American workers with low cost Indian workers."