The debate in the US over H-1B visas has become a political and emotive issue as there is a “yawning gap” between the facts and perception, IT industry body NASSCOM has said, contending that Indian IT firms contribute immensely to the US economy and jobs creation.
“This narrative has been going on for a while now that Indian IT workers come to the US and that they take away jobs, that in general they simply displace American workers and that these are low-paid, not even necessarily high-skilled people who are actually taking away jobs from better paid and skilled American workers,” NASSCOM president R Chandrashekhar told PTI.
Chandrashekhar was here this week leading a delegation of IT industry body to engage with members of the new US administration on issues like clampdown on work visas and flow of skilled manpower between the two nations.
“That’s really the kind of narrative which has got built up, sort of anecdotal examples are being cited, which also are not necessarily accurate. Because it has been presented with a mix of emotive anecdotal stories, I think a counter narrative and facts have really not been recognised. If you look at the facts, then the facts actually tell you a very, very different story,” he said.
He said, “The data, not just our data, but the US government s own data also tells a very, very different story.”
Chandrashekhar met a number of influential American lawmakers, opinion builders, members of think-tank community and the officials from the new Trump Administration and interacted with them on the H-1B visa issues.
The visit of the NASSCOM delegation came in the wake of the ongoing debate in the US and reported moves by the Trump Administration to bring out an executive order to curtail the use of H-1B visas, widely used by Indian IT majors.
“The purpose is to put across our point of view so that a more balanced approach is enabled,” he noted.
Chandrashekhar said the Indian IT industry actually contributes immensely to the US economy in terms of jobs that are created in America, both directly and indirectly.
“Close to half a million jobs have been supported in the US as of 2015. The number of jobs have also been growing at 10 per cent per year as against a two per cent growth in the rest of the job market,” he said.
“The biggest contribution to jobs, of course, is what the industry provides in terms of services to US corporates, 75 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies, which enable them to be more productive, more efficient, and more globally competitive, and thereby helps them to be the job creation engine in the US,” the NASSCOM president said.