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Strict H-1B visa rule not to impact Indian IT companies: Mohandas Pai

Monday, March 05, 2018

The recent move by the US to tighten H-1B visa approval is unlikely to have any significant impact on Indian IT companies compliant with laws, but could "hurt" bodyshops that misuse the system, industry veteran T V Mohandas Pai yesterday said.

Under the new policy, a company will have to go an extra mile to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments in speciality occupation.

The new move announced recently through a seven-page policy empowers the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue H-1B visas to an employee only for the period for which he/she has work at a third-party worksite.

The guidance says in order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must show by a preponderance of evidence that the beneficiary will be employed in a speciality occupation and the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

"...Larger companies are working within the law...There are some bodyshops which misuse the law, they will be hurt," Pai told PTI.

Besides, large established companies, even the smaller players who are compliant with law will not feel any adverse impact, he noted.

He added that the visa process has already been tightened and hence no significant impact is expected to be seen on account of the new guidance.

The new guidance comes weeks ahead of the beginning of the H-1B visas filing season, which is expected to be April 2, for the fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018.

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Indian IT companies, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, has a significant number of its employees deployed at third-party worksites. A significant number of American banking, travel and commercial services depend on on-site IT workers from India to get their job done.

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