Hike in US visa fee to impact Indian IT firms: Nasscom

Bangalore, Aug 6 (IANS) The proposed sharp increase in the US visa fee to raise funds for its border security needs would significantly impact the Indian IT sector, National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said Friday.

The proposed hike is expected to be about $4,500 per visa from $2,500 currently.

‘The Border Security Bill, passed by the US senate late Thursday, aims to raise about $600 million by increasing fee for H-1B and L-1 visas. This has significant impact on the Indian IT sector,’ Nasscom said in a statement here.

Several Indian software firms avail H-1B and L-1 visas in thousands every year to fly their employees to the US for working at their clients’ locations as on-site engineers.

Echoing Nasscom’s concern, IT bellwether Infosys Technologies Ltd termed the US Border Security Bill unfortunate and discriminatory at a time when companies have to be more competitive in an open market scenario.

‘It is unfortunate that this tax (fee) is being levied on a discriminatory basis when the need is to open markets to make companies more competitive in the global market place,’ Infosys said in a statement.

As a global software major, Infosys has been recruiting in the US at all levels, including for its global internship programme InStep.

‘We have to study the details to ascertain the actual impact of the hike in fee for H-1B and L-1 visas currently,’ Infosys board member T. V Mohandas Pai told IANS.

Though Tata Consulting Services (TCS) declined to comment, a senior Wipro official said the company would endorse the concerns expressed by the IT industry representative body (Nasscom).

‘We are running a program to hire about 1,000 people in the US for the past few quarters in the areas of engagement management, consulting, systems analysis, programme management and architects,’ Pai, who also heads Infosys human resources, education and research departments, noted.

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