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H1-B visa: More Indians in US seek jobs back home as Trump signs order

The number of Indians in the US searching for jobs in India has gone up more than 10-fold between December and March.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2017 15:41 IST
Rozelle Laha
Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to H1-B visa program in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to H1-B visa program in Kenosha, Wisconsin.(Reuters Photo)

More Indians living in the US want a job back home after Donald Trump became the president of the world’s largest economy.

The number of Indians in the US searching for jobs in India has gone up more than 10-fold between December and March, according to an analysis by consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Pvt Ltd, shared exclusively with Mint.

There were approximately 600 US-based Indians seeking jobs in India in December 2016. By the end of March 2017, the number had gone up to approximately 7,000, Deloitte analysis said.

This data comes amid a crackdown by the Trump administration on job visas for skilled workers, including software engineers from India.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services said employers seeking H-1B work visas—a non-immigrant visa allowing American firms to employ foreign workers—for 2018 declined for the first time in five years.

Trump signed an executive order that called for a review of the H-1B visa programme, saying they should never be used to replace American workers and be must given to the most skilled and highest paid applicants.

A Bloomberg report on Tuesday cited companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp and Mphasis Corp. as examples of outsourcing firms that would likely have fewer visas approved once the changes are adopted. The H-1B work visa programme channels thousands of foreign workers to the US technology industry.

“While US companies will find some tech talent in the US, the numbers might be less than what are required to meet their needs. Add to that, the wages they need to pay to US employees will be much higher than what they pay to H-1B visa holders,” said CK Guruprasad, a consultant with executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

On Tuesday, Australia abolished the 457 visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, the majority of them Indians, to tackle unemployment.

Experts see global in-house centres (GICs) as a viable option for companies to not only retain Indian talent but also address the anticipated shortage in the required volume of workers in the US.

According to Parag Saigaonkar, principal at global consulting firm Deloitte in India, while the initial thrust of GICs was on moving job roles from a high-cost to low-cost centre to get a competitive edge, firms are now looking at non-linear values that GICs can add to the business — things that Indian GICs can produce—and supporting the parent organisation. “With the seemingly shifting dynamics towards options between outsourcing and local hiring, companies with GICs in India could move Indian talent from the US to India and also hire locals into the GICs and thus sidestep the restrictions of outsourcing to third party companies,” Guruprasad said.

According to KSViswanathan, vice-president for industry initiatives at lobby group Nasscom, while the purpose of GICs so far has revolved around cost and skills arbitration advantages and talent consideration, it is now expected to change.

(Published in arrangement with Livemint)