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Trump vows to enforce visa curbs that could affect Indians

Trump vows to enforce visa curbs that could affect Indians
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President-elect Donald Trump has said he would not allow Americans to be replaced by foreign workers, in an apparent reference to cases like that of...

Washington: President-elect Donald Trump has said he would not allow Americans to be replaced by foreign workers, in an apparent reference to cases like that of Disney World and other American companies where people hired on H-1B visas, including Indians, displaced US workers.

“We will fight to protect every last American life,” Trump told thousands of his supporters in Iowa on Thursday.

“During the campaign, I also spent time with American workers who were laid off and forced to train the foreign workers brought in to replace them. We won’t let this happen anymore,” Trump vowed amidst cheers and applause from the audience.

Disney World and two outsourcing companies have been slapped with a federal lawsuit by two of its former technology staff, alleging that they conspired to displace American workers with cheaper foreign labour brought to the US on H-1B visas, mostly from India.

The two employees — Leo Perrero and Dena Moore — were among 250 Disney tech workers laid off from their jobs at Walt Disney World in Orlando in January 2015. They have also dragged two IT companies HCL Inc and Cognizant Technologies into this class action lawsuit.

There are many areas in which the Trump administration can attack the H1B programme –by making the H1B visa process much more stringent and asking many more questions and increasing qualifications for the applicants, reducing the number of H1B visas from the present 85,000 for which the US government gets more than 230,000 applications, and increasing the minimum wages for H1B visa holders from the present $65,000-75,000 to $100,000-120,000.

All these would hurt Indian companies. Indian companies are one of the largest beneficiaries of the H1B programme.

The seven India-based companies that had the most H-1B petitions approved for new employment in FY2015 received 14,610, or about 13%, of the total approved new petitions that year.

TCS with 4,674 visa-holders had the largest number, followed by Cognizant (3,812), Wipro (3,079), Infosys (2,830), Tech Mahindra (1,576) and HCL America (1,339).

Any action on US visas will hurt Indian companies because a large amount of Indian IT’s business comes from the US.

Also, the Indian IT sector is heavily dependent on export revenue which is $108 billion out of a total sector revenue of $143 billion.

Over 60% of this comes from the US which is the largest and most critical market for Indian IT companies. More than 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are serviced by Indian IT companies.

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