Indian Tech Industry Lobbies Against Further Visa Fees « The Washington Independent
Indian information technology companies are up in arms about a visa fee increase imposed by the $600 million border security bill signed into law this month. The fee hikes affect companies that employ more than 50 workers and use H-1B visas to hire more than half of their workforce.
The visa hikes likely cannot be reversed, so Indian industry groups are attempting to prevent additional fee increases in the future, National Journal reported today:
“The bigger concern for us is whether this will happen more,” said Som Mittal, president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies, the Indian chamber of commerce. “Clearly this recent incident is poorly timed, in my opinion, and has left a sour taste.”
Mittal said he expects the fee increases to be brought up when Obama makes a historic visit to India in November focused on how to continue improving U.S.-India business relationships. [...]
Somers and Mittal also challenged another claim leveled by Schumer that the hiring practices of Indian firms are taking jobs away from U.S. workers. They said the visa programs are used to hire highly skilled workers in the technology industry, which has not seen the job losses that other sectors such as construction and retail have experienced.
It is unclear what percent of visas go to Indian firms — Immigration and Customs Enforcement could not confirm the number to National Journal. But as Suzy Khimm argued today at The Washington Post, Congress should have considered how visa hikes would impact the labor market before imposing additional fees:
Given the abiding concerns about jobs amid a lingering recession, it may be the time to reform the country’s visa and legal immigration system if it would help our economic recovery. This could entail bigger barriers to entry and smaller quotas for work visas. But it could also entail more readily available visas for highly skilled foreign entrepreneurs who want to bring their talents to the United States and for short-term foreign workers who can inject new life into certain sectors of the economy — ultimately creating more jobs for U.S. citizens.
Basically, these are costs and benefits that need be weighed holistically, without arbitrarily picking off a particular industry because it fits into a readymade populist argument about jobs and immigration.