US Lobby Group Echoes Indian IT’s H-1B Worries
Compete America highlights high level of rejections of H-1B visa applications
Jochelle Mendonca & Ayan Pramanik
Bengaluru: Compete America, a lobby group backed by American technology corporations including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, has written to the US government complaining about the high level of rejections in H-1B visa applications, in a move likely to provide a fillip to the efforts of Indian outsourcing companies that have been seeking similar redressal for the last two years.
In a letter sent on November 1, Compete America highlighted issues faced by its members due to the stand taken by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on grant of work visas for their employees, primarily engineers.
“Our coalition’s members have reported dramatic increases in the issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and denials regarding H-1B petitions for the last 18 months, and more recently are experiencing a sharp increase in the issuance of Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) and Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIRs) concerning H-1B petitions,” stated the let- to the head of the Dept of Homeland Security and Director of the US Citizenship & Immigration Services
agencies to review H-1B adjudication practices
on lobbbying so far in 2018, according to data from Centre for Responsive Politics. It spent $300,000 last year ter addressed to Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS); L Francis Cissna, director of USCIS; and legal counsels at the government bodies.
Indian IT companies have been complaining about the increased issuance of request for evidence, which has required them to raise the lead time required for a visa.
Compete America’s letter pointed to legal issues with H-1B adjudications under the Donald Trump administration.
“The ecommerce sector has seen an increase in hiring of temps as a direct result of the two largest players choosing to pursue an aggressive market expansion strategy,” said Randstad India CEO Paul Dupuis. Xpheno cofounder Kamal Karanth concurred.
“The expansion of the logistics sector, the continued expansion of ecommerce firms such as Flipkart and Amazon has also led to the increase in demand for the workforce,” he said.
This may get a further impetus as the number of online shoppers is expected to rise to 175 million by 2020 from over 100 million in 2018. Less densely populated regions generated a larger proportion of online sales this year than in the year before, said Chakraborty.
Demand is therefore not li- mited to the big cities — temp hiring in non-urban regions is almost double that in major urban regions and is expected to continue to maintain a 20% growth trajectory in 2019
“Another large pack of aggressive hiring this year is food-delivery companies growing three-five times of last year,” said Lohit Bhatia, CEO, Ikya Human Capital Solutions, Quess Corp.
Hiring for the overall festive season period is 40% higher than last year and in the case of ecommerce/logistics, growth is nearly 80100%, according to Bhatia. Amazon added twice the number of temporary staff this festive season than it did last year. “These positions have been created in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Pune and many other cities across the country,” said an Amazon spokesperson.