A new bill introduced in the US House of Representatives proposes to limit the entry of highly-skilled workers into the country to stop companies "replacing" American workers.The "Visa Dependent Employers" are using regulatory arbitrage and salutary neglect to extract rents at the expense of US workers and their own employees.
Indian media organisations have described the move as a big setback to the IT industry and the Indian government has conveyed its concerns to the US administration.
Several bills and a draft executive order are attempting changes to - or curbs on - the H-1B programme.
The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017, introduced last week in the House of Representatives by California lawmaker Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat, calls for replacing the lottery system with a preference for companies that can pay the highest salaries.
It suggests raising the effective minimum wage for an H-1B visa holder to over $130,000, more than double the current $60,000 level established in 1989. Exemptions, though allowed, are rare.
The bill says the visa programme "has allowed replacement of American workers by outsourcing companies with cheaper H-1B workers" and aims to end the "abuse" of the programme.
"My legislation refocuses the H-1B programme to its original intent - to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly paid, and highly skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them," Rep Lofgren said on her website.
The proposed new legislation mainly targets companies not based in the US that bring in foreign employees on the visa quota.
The doubling of the minimum wage applies to "visa dependent employers" or companies with more than 15% of US employees on H-1B visas.
It excludes American firms such as IBM, allowing them to bring in H-1B holders at the older minimum wage, because they would have less than 15% of US employees on H-1B visas.
This effectively targets Indian outsourcing firms and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has described it as "discriminatory".
They can go Cheney themselves.
With the new bill targeting "visa dependant employers", it is primarily Indian firms such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro which will be affected.Good. Their business model is a parasitic one.
On Tuesday, stocks of Indian software exporters plunged - TCS's shares fell 4.47%, Infosys's declined 2% and Wipro's 1.62%.
This needs to end.