NEW DELHI — Despite rising visa barriers, global firms prefer to hire Indian techies in the U.S. due to the shortage of skilled workers in North America, said IT industry apex body Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar Dec. 27.
"Global firms continue to find India suitable for talent and skilled workers in the U.S. where there is an acute shortage of skills and despite stringent rules in granting H-1B visas for foreign employees," Chandrashekhar told BTVi in an interview.
With the visa process to the U.S. becoming stricter, it had become difficult for companies to send workers from India and the recent tax changes have also made it more expensive to offshore work from the U.S., he added.
The H-1B is a common visa route for skilled foreign workers to find jobs at companies in the U.S.
"Indian IT industry's value remains strong, though there may be barriers for companies working outside the country," Chandrashekhar asserted.
The H-1B visa program is popular among the Indian IT industry workforce. India accounts for nearly 70 percent of all H-1B workers.
U.S. President Donald Trump in April signed an executive order to "Buy American, Hire American," that made the application process for an H-1B visa more stringent.
Recently, the Trump Administration has also announced its intention to do away with the Obama-era rule that allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the U.S.
"With the withdrawal of the Obama-era rule allowing spouses of the H-1B visa workers to be employed in the U.S., the H-1B route is now less attractive for employees with working spouses," Chandrashekhar noted.
A lot of the changes made by the U.S. government have been directed at visa-dependent companies, which are largely Indian companies, he said.
The "onerous" conditions with regard to visas have made working in the U.S. difficult for Indian workers, but the Indian workforce is still in demand globally, the Nasscom president said.
"Quantification of the effect of all these conditions on the Indian IT industry would be difficult, but with the root cause of offshoring – skill shortage – still remaining in the U.S., and with no other strong competitive option to India emerging, global companies are still coming to India to tap our talent pool."
The $150-billion Indian IT industry has also helped many companies undertake digital transformation, he said.
"The Indian IT industry is able to translate the confidence that they had created over the last couple of decades with their clients as they undertake digital transformation," he added.