Economy

Nasscom terms U.S. bill as unfair and discriminatory

The financial implication will be of the magnitude of about $400 million annually

The Indian software industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) on Thursday said the Indian IT sector was “deeply disappointed” with the move to reauthorise James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which will double the H-1B and L-1 visa fee.

The apex body for Indian Information Technology companies also stated the move of imposing an additional H-1B and L-1 visa fees was patently unfair and discriminatory in nature and goes against the grain of free market economics.

As per Nasscom estimates, the financial implication of this bill on the Indian IT sector would be will be of the magnitude of about $400 million annually.

The proposed Act levy a special fee of up to $4,000 on certain categories of H-1B visas and $4,500 on L-1 visas. The U.S. House of Representative is slated to vote on the $1.1 trillion spending bill deal on Friday. The move is expected to impact Indian IT majors who sent their employees to the US for executing the contracts. The companies also use L1 visa, which is a short term visa.

In a statement Nasscom said, it is deeply disappointed with the move to reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which proposes to levy discriminatory visa fee that will impact India centric companies.

“We are increasingly seeing a growing protectionist trend from developed countries such as the U.S. who have been strongly advocating India to have a more liberalised trade and business environment. This move is contrary to President Obama’s stated support for continued openness and ease of access to the U.S. market by Indian service companies and his advocacy of continued openness of the Indian market to U.S. companies,” Nasscom said in a statement. Further, the Industry association said, Indian IT industry should not be repeatedly targeted as a revenue source to fund unrelated programmes.

Expressing its concerns, Nasscom said, “Moreover, this bill was introduced in a unilateral manner without any opportunity for consultation,” it said.

According to reports, $4,000 fee would apply to companies having at least 50 employees with 50 per cent of their employees on H-1B or L-1 visa. Such companies would have to pay a new fee of $4,000 for H-1B visas and $4,500 for L-1 visas.

The move comes in the backdrop of the U.S. presidential elections wherein the issue of jobs are coming into the spotlight. Recently, Indian IT majors were under the scanner of the U.S. regulators for alleged visa violations. Last month U.S. senators had introduced legislation in the Senate that proposes to cut the number of H-1B visas by 15,000. In November, two other Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin had introduced a bipartisan legislation in the Senate seeking reform of H-1B visa programme and modify wage requirements. The bill also prohibited companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

Nasscom also stated that the U.S. move penalising India-centric global IT services companies are highly illogical and irrational as they are being made to fund purely unrelated programmes.

“Prime Minister Mr. Modi has also raised this issue and expressed his concern directly with President Obama. Despite all of this, seemingly in blatant disregard to their endeavours, the U.S. has not only gone ahead with this discriminatory measure, but also quadrupled the financial burden and enlarged the scope compared to the earlier bill,” it said.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:25:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/nasscom-terms-us-bill-as-unfair-and-discriminatory/article8001023.ece

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