NEW DELHI: In what may come as another concern for Indian IT firms operating in the United States, the Donald Trump administration is proposing a hike in H-1B visa fee in order to increase funding for expansion of an apprentice programme, which trains American youths in technology-related work.
“In FY 2020, the (Labour) Department included a budget of $160 million to continue our expansion of apprenticeship programmes, along with a proposal to increase H-1B (visa fee) to fund additional apprenticeship activities,” US Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta was quoted as telling lawmakers.
Acosta, however, did not give details of proposed increase in H-1B filing fee and as to which categories of applicants it would be enforced on. He also told lawmakers that the Labour Department has also made changes to the H-1B application forms to ensure greater transparency and to better protect American workers from employers seeking to misuse the programme.
Analysts felt the impact of this decision is likely to fall on the Indian IT companies, which account for a lion’s share of H-1B applications.
“The IT companies will have to rethink hiring skilled foreign workers (on location) in the US and perhaps there might be a drive towards shifting more work to India from the US,” Vivek Tandon, CEO of EB5 BRICS told TNIE.
In FY18, a total of 419,637 H-1B petitions were received from about 207 countries. India accounted for 73.9 per cent of these applications.
In the same year, a total of 331,098 H-1B petitions we r e approved. The total numbers of H-1B approved petitions for five Indian IT majors - including TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra Americas Inc and HCL America Inc - were 22,429.
This is not the first time in recent times when the US administration has made changes in granting H-1B, which affected Indian IT firms.
WHY THE HIKE
The Trump administration is proposing a hike in H-1B visa fee to increase funding for expansion of an apprentice programme, which trains American youths in technology-related work