US Lobby Group Echoes In­dian IT’s H-1B Wor­ries

Com­pete Amer­ica high­lights high level of re­jec­tions of H-1B visa ap­pli­ca­tions

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

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.

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