This Article is From Mar 28, 2017

H-1B Visa: Indian Firms Made Best Use Of 'Flawed' System, Says American Lawmaker

H-1B Visa: Indian Firms Made Best Use Of 'Flawed' System, Says American Lawmaker

US tech companies depend on H-1B visas to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.

Washington: Congressman Darrell Issa, an influential American lawmaker, has alleged that Indian companies have "gamed" the "flawed" US immigration system, stating that US President Donald Trump supports a bill that proposes a massive hike in the minimum salary for those employed on H-1B visas. Mr Issa, who recently introduced the legislation, insisted that his move would bring the best talents to the United States and help fix the flaws in the existing H-1B system.

"The president supports (the bill). I think we will have strong support in the Senate," he told a Washington audience at an event hosted by Atlantic Council at the Capitol Visitor Center. He alleged that Indian companies have "gamed the system" and made the "best use of this flawed immigration system".

"You can't have 75 per cent of a programme going to an Indian-owner, Indian operated, Indian employee visas and not say that this is distortion," Mr Issa said, adding that it's common sense to hire the best and not the other way around.

"It would be interesting that India would be concerned that a relatively simple change (in H-1B visas) that does not target India, somehow happens to be accommodation for India," he said.

"Today 75 per cent of all H-1Bs are coming in about $60-65,000, which is pretty absurd considering these are high-skilled visas... If they were told to write $100,000 and you will get your H-1B, they will write that cheque," he said.

The lawmaker from California called for fixing the system and removing the country-based caps. He also said increasing the salary would raise the quality of people coming to the US.

"An auction system is not a bad way to go," he said.

"A graduate with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree from a US university is not going to take a job with $60,000 salary. And that's the reality," said the Congressman.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa - popular among Indian IT professionals - that allows American firms to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.