Proposed Changes to H1B Visa Norms Is An Opportunity And Not A Threat

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I was recently asked by a leading media publication about my views on the impact of new H1B visa policies memorandum proposed by the US administration on the outsourcing industry. While I understand why IT outsourcing firms are concerned, my take is that despite what happens to the memorandum this time, it’s about time they take a long-term view of the changing dynamics and start adapting to the new environment.

Here’s what the memorandum states, summarily: Companies sending employees to the US on H1B visa need to have specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a speciality occupation.

It’s ironical if this should be any cause of major worry. After all, the intent of the US government is to ensure that the visa is used for its purpose. And, if it demands a more stringent scrutiny of the applicants’ claims, then so be it. Yes, it means that companies intending to use this visa to ensure a smooth operation of their projects have to be more particular about the requirements of the job and qualifications required of the role to perform the job. Isn’t that precisely how it needs to be?

Global outsourcing firms have to recognize that H1B is not a door for entry in the US. It’s not an immigration tool. And, it’s definitely not an entitlement. It is a way of getting their fitting personnel at the right place – if it happens to be onsite as required – strictly in accordance with the project requirements.

IT outsourcing firms have had two decades of relatively favourable circumstances and they rode the wave quite successfully. However, times are changing and they need to show the resilience and adaptability to deal with unfavourable wind. H1B is only one of the many challenges they face today in fast-changing dynamic, and they need to adapt and focus on fundamentals.

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Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, an award-winning global research & advisory firm. To read more about him, click here.

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