The latest immigration reform of President Barack Obama, which was revealed last Thursday, brought little hope for the Information Technology Outsourcing industry in India. High-skilled techies in India were eagerly waiting for the US President to increase H- 1Bs or the number of skilled-workers visa. However, Obama bypassed the Congress in order to protect over a million illegal immigrants from deportation. The reform also included minor benefits for organizations with overseas workers.
The President, in his address to the nation, said that it would now be easier and faster for entrepreneurs, graduates and high-skilled immigrates to stay in the U.S and contribute to its economy. This has brought a cloud over India’s outsourcing firms who were waiting for the H-1B visas to increase, so they could send across more Indian engineers and programmers to meet the needs of their customers in the U.S.
This is indeed a big hit to Indian software companies, considering the fact that Indian technology giants (Wipro, TCS and Infosys) have been sending thousands of skilled workers year after year.
The reforms bill, which was first introduced last year, was initially supposed to triple the H-1B visas to 180,000 a year, but was thwarted after several lawmakers felt that such a change would result in an influx of illegal immigrates. Based on this fact, market watchers were sure that Obama would not drastically increase the number of H-1B visas issued annually. Continue reading