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Trump's next executive order could clamp down H-1B visas
02 February 2017, 12:42 | Felicia Christensen
Carlos Barria Reuters
California Republican Darrell Issa had re-introduced a bill aimed at cracking down on the H-1B visa abuse by making major amendments to the existing program, allowing only highly skilled foreign employees work in the US.
Shares of India-based information technology companies suffered on Tuesday after a Bill to "reform" H-1B visa norms was tabled in the US House of Representatives.
With this legislation being passed the effect on Indian IT stocks was immediate.
File picture of Indian tech workers. Wipro and Tech Mahindra also registered falls of 1.62 and 4.23 percents respectively, closing at values of Rs. 457.10 and 451.75.
Correction: It may not be a good time to be a non-American in Trump's America. Not a single day goes by when the US President is not issuing some controversial order or the other. Meanwhile, Syrian Refugees get an indefinite ban.
Spicer added that Trump will do so "through executive order and through working with Congress".
The text of the order does not impose an immediate freeze on the number of H-1B visas issued this year, but Peddibhotla said the language suggests there will be a reduction in the number of visas issued in future years. A related visa is the L1, which is given to employees of a company who are transferred to the US.
A leaked draft of the executive order titled "Protecting American jobs and workers by strengthening the integrity of foreign worker visa programs" appeared on the New York Times Web site January 27. It would also establish wage requirements for L-1 workers and improve H-1B wage requirements to encourage companies to hire qualified American workers and prevent them from using foreign workers as a source of cheap labor.
Most Indians settled in the USA are in level-2 professions, followed by level-3 and level-4.
"We're aware of 76 Microsoft employees who are citizens of these countries and have a USA visa and are therefore affected by this new order", Microsoft stated in a letter to staff on Friday, adding there may be more.
A survey in 2013 showed that there are 4.8 lakh techies from the Telugu states working in the U.S. at different levels, a lot of them in IT companies in Level-2 professions.
In December 2016, the information technology stocks were hit by tough talk on visas by USA president-elect Donald Trump, while oil retailers declined after crude prices surged to their highest since mid-2015.
All of this is pressuring the stock prices of Indian technology companies-some falling as much as 9 percent Tuesday.
Over 60% of Indian IT revenues comes from the US.
Bengaluru in particular, the hub of the IT industry, will be the epicentre of this meltdown that Trump has caused.
The Indian IT industry is already battling slowing growth amid big changes in the technological landscape (like automation and artificial intelligence) and global headwinds like Brexit.
IT analysts reckon that the new law, if and when it passes, will have far-reaching implications not only on Indian companies but on the United States economy as well since most US-based Fortune 500 organisations are "deeply invested and dependent" on Indian IT services providers. In many cases, the companies are hiring for highly technical positions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
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