The Centre has asked Indian IT companies to submit data on their contributions to the United States economy, the National Association of Software and Services Companies said on Sunday. Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said the Narendra Modi-led government had also sought data on the economic impact of the “restrictive measures” in visa regulations on both countries, NDTV reported.
The requests came after talks between industry representatives and Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday. Both sides discussed concerns related to possible changes in US visa policy and its impact on the domestic IT sector, PTI reported. “The government needs solid data to take up the industry’s concerns with America,” a person familiar with the details of the meeting told the news agency.
Secretaries from several ministries were present at the meeting, along with industry and Nasscom representatives. Chandrashekhar said they had agreed to jointly deal with the “rising tide of global protectionism”.
On Monday, Sitharaman had acknowledged that restrictions on the H-1B visa would impact IT professionals in India. “We are going to have a clear exchange with them [industry stakeholders], and after that, I will be able to have a clearer picture of where the industry is,” she had said.
Separately, the heads of a number of Indian IT companies are expected to meet US lawmakers and officials from President Donald Trump’s administration this month to discuss the changes made to H-1B visa regulations. IT stocks in Indian markets have taken a hit since news emerged that the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act, 2017, had been introduced in the US House of Representatives. The Bill proposes hiking the minimum wage for H-1B visa holders from $60,000 (Rs 40.7 lakh) to $130,000 (Rs 88 lakh), which will make it more expensive for IT firms to hire professionals from outside of the US.
More than three lakh Indian engineers are believed to be on H-1B visas in the US.