US Immigration Bill has larger implications on non-skilled workers


The US Senate house has passed the Immigration Bill though it still needs sanction from the Congress. The Immigration reforms need to be looked at in a holistic manner; it has larger implications on non-skilled immigrants rather than skilled immigrants and it will potentially shape America’s demographic and political future.

Though the bill is designed to incentivize the US IT hiring, there are three dimensions to look at:

First, MNCs need skilled talent in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), specially from the Bay area. They will not be stifled by rising visa costs as they get naturally excluded from all the regulations.  The bill will also enable free talent movement between centers in India and US.

Second, it is also a gain for the Indian IT service providers who leverage H1 and L1 programs heavily.  More importantly, Indian IT service providers should look at hiring “foreign” students who graduate out of US universities thereby expanding their pool in terms of H1.

Finally, with these immigration reforms the supply will increase significantly and over the next five years the wages increases will get flattened out just like how it happened with IT sector in the US where the IT wages have been nearly flat for the last 12 years with the flow of guest worker talent.

With proposals and provisions for guaranteed “unlimited” green cards for masters, doctoral and post-doctoral programs it augurs well for Indian students. The increase in the visa caps from 20,000 to 25,000 will also benefit them. With the clamour for H1 in the non-student quota increasing, they can look forward to better campus placements from Indian companies as well. The other two perspectives are Indian IT service providers who leverage H1 and L1 programs heavily and the students who go from India to US to pursue graduate programs.