American dream?

Nearly 70,000 Indian techies may return over H-1B rules

h1b-visa-reuters Representational image | Reuters

Given the fact that the Trump administration is considering preventing visa extensions of those H-1B visa holders whose green card applications are pending, a large number of Indian IT professionals are expected to come back to the country, say experts.

“I am getting regular calls from many professionals who want to come back to the country and are looking for an opportunity there. No one will want to wait for the expiry of their H-1B visas and return back,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, the founder of the recruitment firm Head Hunters India Limited.

This expert feels that the proposed move will hit a lot of Indian IT services companies that will be further forced to hire locals and set up their centres in the US.

“I feel over the next few months, 50,000 to 70,000 professionals are expected to come back to India. Last 10 years, around 50,000 people have gone to the US every year from India on H-1B visas. The pressure to hire more local people in the US can affect the margins of the Indian IT services companies as hiring an American local worker is equivalent to hiring four Indian people. I feel this time, the regulation is expected to be passed,” added Lakshmikanth.

Experts such as Dr Vivek Mansingh, an IT veteran who has worked with the likes of Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and John Chambers and holds six patents in the US and is currently the general partner at YourNest Advisors, a VC fund, feels that such a move is America's 'loss'. “I feel that Indians who return will have a bright future in India and in turn the Indian start-up ecosystem is also expected to benefit from it,” remarked Mansingh.

Going by the trend, things are expected to become tough for Indian professionals who do not have a green card (permanent residency) or are waiting for a green card as they will definitely have to come back to India as the application process for a green card takes a lot of time.

Under existing rules, H-1B visa workers are allowed a three-year extension of the H-1B visa of three-year validity. At the end of the visa period, the person can stay in the US if he has a pending green card application but the planned legislation aims at discontinuing this practice.

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