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Restricting work rights for H-1B spouses a dampener: Nasscom

Restricting work rights for H-1B spouses a dampener: Nasscom



IT industry body Nasscom today said any move to restrict work rights for spouses of H-1B visa holders may dampen the enthusiasm of tech professionals to go on such visas, but will not directly impact the industry.


“In my assessment, it won’t affect the industry substantially because tech workers themselves go on H-1B visa.


But indirectly, it reduces the keenness or willingness of some individuals to go, as their spouses won’t be able to work in the US,” Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar told PTI.


The statement comes against backdrop of the US administration under President Donald Trump seeking 60 days from an American appeals court to “consider” its response in a case challenging the previous government’s decision to allow spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the US.


Such a move could put jobs of thousands of Indians at stake.


Chandrashekhar said the impact will be more indirect in nature as it is a “change in lifestyle” given that working women may not want to be suddenly out of work.


“From an industry point of view, it may dampen the enthusiasm of people to go on H-1B visas but it will not have a direct impact,” he said.


However, he pointed out that Nasscom had not made a specific assessment of the situation with member companies yet.


Only last week, the USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing of H-1B visas — often used by Indian IT firms — that could lead to process delays.


In the past few weeks, there have been proposals to overhaul the popular H-1B visa regime through various legislations which have added to the worries of the Indian IT sector that is battling slower growth, currency fluctuation and cautious client spending.


The US accounts for over 60 percent of the Indian IT export revenues.


Nasscom had recently taken a delegation to Washington DC (February 27-March 2) to discuss issues like clampdown on work visas and flow of skilled manpower between the two nations.


The Indian government, too, has been pressing for a fair and rational approach on the matter from a trade and business perspective.


Yesterday, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the Indian government has conveyed its concerns at a ‘very senior level’ in the US administration.