TCS says Modi-Obama bonhomie yet to reflect on visa front

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Mumbai, April 19: The largest software exporter TCS has said domestic IT companies, which count America as their biggest market and are heavily dependent on it, are yet to benefit from the increasing warmth in the Indo-US ties.

“At this point in time, there is not much of a change that has happened. Going forward, there could be changes. Let’s hope it would be good for us,” Tata Consultancy global HR head Ajoy Mukherjee told PTI.

He said there is no change in the rules that govern sending professionals under the H1-B visa regime, where the companies’ requirements have overshot the quota fixed by 65,000, nor the L1 visas.

The domestic IT companies net almost 75 per cent of their revenue from the US and Canada.

As per the US government data released last week, H1-B visa applications totalled a record 2,33,000 in fiscal 2016.

As against this, the maximum it can issue annually is just 85,000 work visas, including 20,000 for those having master’s degrees, and the rest to companies seeking to hire foreign workers in science, engineering and computer engineers, as per the limit set by the Congress in spite of years of lobbying by tech companies to raise the cap.

According to the American tech industry data, the US annually loses about 5,00,000 jobs because of this limit.

“There is not much of a shift at this point in time. Going forward, there will be some changes which we will have to watch out for and take corrective action,” said Mukherjee.

He sounded unsure if the changes, being forced by the personal intervention of US President Barack Obama will be positive or not, and said the companies can only hope that they usher in better environment.

The new rules which are in the offing should offer companies time to migrate without impacting business and be uniform for all the players, he said.

“All we say is whatever comes up, we need to get a certain period of time before it becomes effective so that we can take action, to comply with those requirements. It should not impact business to a great deal and also it should be uniform across all players, across industries,” he said.

Mukherjee said TCS, which has been accused of favouring South Asians by an employee of American origin, is sensitive to the domestic concerns in the US and will continue to hire locally.

“We are hiring strong in the US and Canada and that hiring will continue,” he said.

The increased bonhomie between the two countries, especially the warmth shared by Prime Minister Modi and Obama, has increased interest on the impact on the IT industry.

The IT industry, which is one of the biggest export earner for the country, has been lobbying hard for improving the statutes that govern their operations especially after the US came out with the Immigration Bill, which proposes higher visa fees and enhanced audit by US agencies.

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