Nearshore Americas

Visa-dependant Firms like Facebook Expect Heavy Damage from Loss of H1B

Indian IT services providers and the U.S. social media giant Facebook will be hit hard if President Donald Trump goes ahead with his plans to restrict the H-1B visa.

Facebook will take a severe hit because more than 15% of its U.S. employees are foreigners. The company is also legally certified as ‘H-1B visa-dependent’, reports Reuters, citing Labor Department filings.

Foreign technology workers are in high demand in the United States, with just about every large technology firm, including Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, employing them at their facilities across the country.

But opposition to the visa program is growing constantly, largely because the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa program are Indian outsourcing firms, such as Infosys and TCS.

Some congressmen are reportedly suggesting to the government that it should end the lottery system employed to select beneficiaries, while also and doubling the minimum wage for visa applicants in order to discourage outsourcing firms from using them.

Critics argue that the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.

The executive order will not restrict American technology firms from employing foreign workers, only the companies classified as “visa dependent”. In other words, Facebook will be hurt but not other large American technology firms.

“The doubling of the minimum wage applies to “visa dependent employers” or companies with more than 15% of U.S. employees on H-1B visas,” Reuters said.

The outcry over the H-1B visa is not new, but most of the studies conducted to assess the effects of the visa program conclude that hiring foreign nationals for tech-related jobs is ‘critical’ for nearly a quarter of U.S. companies.

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A study conducted by Enrico Moretti for his award-winning book “The New Geography of Jobs” found that five new jobs are created for every tech job filled in U.S. metropolitan areas.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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