US H1-B visa has been in the news for past two days after a news report said the US has informed India that the nation is planning to cap allocation of visas to countries that force foreign companies to store data locally. However, on June 20, the US State Department official denied that any such thing was discussed with India.
“Nasscom is continuously talking to people in the US as well as in India and is monitoring the situation carefully. But in this particular case it seems to be much ado over nothing," said
Keshav Murugesh, group CEO of WNS Global, and chairman, Nasscom.
The US State Department has also clarified that H1B visa caps and data flow are two completely disconnected issues. The noise all started around the data localisation norms and this rumour of cap started but the US State Department has clarified on that, he stated.
“In terms of any other caps, we all are aware that this is reviewed on a regular basis and for any such change to happen, it has to go through the US Congress as well,” he said.
He specified that the whole H1B quota is only 85,000 people. Although India accounts of 70-75 percent of the total quota, only 2.6 percent of the 85,000 was consumed by top seven IT services companies, while the rest is consumed by global and US multinational companies, who need this talent because there is such a deficit of STEM talent, pointed out Murugesh.
“One should not be too concerned about these issues, the business must go on. There is a tremendous paucity of STEM talent, the US itself is feeling the heat in terms of wanting really top quality talent. Every CEO, worth his/her salt has openly and clearly said that the entire need to drive innovation and transformation can only be done if they continue to receive such talent,” said Murugesh.
The most important thing to understand here is that it this is all about skills and having the right talent available from a technology point of view both to the US as well as international companies, who are looking to grow and transform their own business, added
Moreover, “while all this discussion is going on there are unfulfilled jobs in the US of 7.5 million people of whom 67 percent need specific technical skills. That is the kind of demand that is still there and 85000 is hardly anything,” he said.According to him, now there is much more focus on scrutinising each and every H-1B visa applications. “If you actually look at the quotas that the traditional Indian IT companies have been taking for past few years, they have dropped dramatically by almost 43 percent between 2015 and 2017. So the reality is that is more a way of looking at the application,” he added.