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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     22 November 2010

India or the U.S: Who benefited out of H -1B visa?

Bangalore: As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of H -1B visas it is always good to turn back and see what the country has benefited out of it. The H -1B discussion is always heated and sometimes even worse ' when it turns racist, elitist, subjective or just plain ugly. Even though recent reports say that H -1B visas may soon become a dream for the Indian techies still the Indian companies weep over it.The spark of hope during the recent Obama's visit which died down in hours show where is H -1B heading towards. If you look back towards when the Congress government created the H-1B visa program, 20 years ago it sent the American IT industry into uncharted territory from which it has yet to emerge. The U.S. had an H-1 visa for foreign nationals with "distinguished merit and ability" prior to 1990, but that year, in response to warnings of an emerging "skills gap" or "skills mismatch" among U.S. engineering and technology professionals, thus the government broadened the scope of the visa.

But during the recent visa controversies Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont said, "The very least we can do is to make sure that banks receiving a taxpayer bailout are not allowed to import "cheaper labor" from overseas while they are laying off American workers." Over the 20 years has this lost its shine? Isn't H1B visa a skilled job visa? How can it be Cheap labor visa?

The benefits of U.S. on the H1B are a plain truth that is known to everyone. They are able to get substantially higher work quality at lower rates, more spending in U.S. hence the movement of currency etc. Since the Indian companies work on a contract basis the U.S. companies don't have to worry about the perks much.

If you look at the Indian scenario IT professionals who have been displaced from their jobs because of offshore outsourcing believe that the H-1B visa has made government a complicit partner in the shift of jobs. They maintain that the H-1B visa and offshoring have become inextricably linked, with offshore companies placing H-1B workers in client sites in the U.S. with the intention of ultimately transferring the work overseas.

Rahul Narayan an Indian techie who went to U.S. on an H- 1B visa and later shifted to a U.S. firm says that majority of the Indians prefer to shift their jobs to U.S. firms since they offer you better pay and other facilities. Employees prefer their comfort rather than being nationalist. Such a way H-1B visas are really helpful to the Indians.

Beside the Indian companies' benefits through the revenue generated from these onsite positions and the little improved spending power, has Indian economy achieved anything out of it is a matter of a question now. Can we say that some of these 'gains' are not really concessions by the U.S.? It is true that 20 years is late for analyzing it but it is always good to mourn over something that is beneficial to all of us. Should we mourn for a 'cheap labor visa' anymore?

This is an open platform for the techies to discuss the advantages of H1B visas in the current scenario. You can bring your point of discussion in the form of comments or you can


 1 Replies

HANUMANT DESHMUKH (Activist)     22 November 2010

Since you brought it up, would like to know what  are you views on this.

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