Washington: – US President Donald Trump has announced a temporary ban on the H-1B visas, intending to make more employment opportunities available to the US citizens against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic. Fears are being expressed that the IT companies and its employees will be hit hard with this ban. Many US IT companies also have opposed this move and have warned that this will create obstacles in giving a fillip to the US economy.
US President Trump signed the ordinance regarding a ban on H-1B visas, on Monday. As per the ordinance processing of H-1B, J and L visas given to foreign employees will be suspended till 31 December 2020. The ordinance will come into force on Wednesday, 24 June 2020, and after this date, no foreign employees will be allotted employment visas for the United States.
The US, as well as Indian IT companies, use H-1B visas on a big scale. As per the information given by the US immigration department, 250,000 applications had been received for H-1B work visas till 1 April 2020. Out of these, 184,000 applications were from India. Indian citizens get 70% of the H-1B work visas, out of 85,000 visas, issued by the United States every year.
The IT companies use the H-1B work visas on a massive scale in order to save on employees’ cost to the company. President Trump, after taking over the reins of the country, has consistently indicated changes in the system. President Trump had clarified that he intended to make these changes with a view that they will make more employment opportunities available to the US youth. The ordinance issued on Monday is a part of the same process, and there is resentment in the industry over the law.
Google, a leading IT company in the United States, expressed its opposition to the ordinance saying that the US President needs to recognise that foreigners have a substantial share in the progress of the United States. The US apex group ‘Information Technology Industry Council’ has demanded that President Trump should reconsider the decision. Whereas, the leading financial institution, Morgan Stanley, has expressed an opinion that this decision will not have a telling effect on the companies from the IT sector.
‘NASSCOM’, the apex body of the Indian IT companies, has warned that the decision of the US President is wrong and detrimental to the US economy. Stocks of the leading IT companies like TCS, Wipro, Infosys and Tech Mahindra took a major hit, following the decision of the US President. Although no direct reaction has been received from the Indian government so far, indications are that the point will be raised in the talks being held on various levels.