Moneycontrol
Oct 13, 2017 01:09 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

TCS saw most visa approvals for intra-company transfers to US in last 2 years: Report

Tata Consultancy Services got the highest number of intra-company transfer visas approved in 2015 and 2016, allowing the company to transfer its people from its Indian operations to its US unit for projects.

 
 
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Tata Consultancy Services got the highest number of intra-company transfer visas approved in 2015 and 2016, allowing the company to transfer its people from its Indian operations to its US unit for projects.

The agency that oversees lawful immigration in the US- the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - last night released more data about temporary work visas, which include not just H-1B, but also L-1 and H-2B visas.

“ This new information reflects USCIS’ commitment to transparency in carrying out President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order,” USCIS said in a statement.

In fiscal year 2016 TCS got 1615 L-1 visa approvals, followed by Cognizant, which got 1337, and Infosys which got 277, and Wipro, which got 220 L-1 work visas approved. In the preceding year also, it was TCS that got the highest number of L-1 work visas approved – 1606, followed by Cognizant (1079), IBM India Private (267) and the Schlumberger Technology Group (224).

The over USD 155 billion Indian IT services industry has often faced flak for abusing the H-1B temporary visa regime, which has helped Indian companies send their resources to client locations and keeping costs low.

The industry has consistently denied these claims.

Since US President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, there has been talk of tightening of the H-1B visa regime. There are a total of 13 Bills in the US Congress related to the larger issue of immigration, out of which four Bills are about H-1B, six Bills are about outsourcing and three are about immigration.

In April this year, Trump signed an executive order named “Buy American and Hire American” in which he tasked the US Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Homeland Security “to suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.”

The L1 visas, unlike H-1B visas, do not have an annual cap on the number of visas that can be given every year. However, the US has tightened the process of approving L-1 visas and raised costs, which has caused the number of such visa allotments to come down.

In a January note, Equirius Securities noted that the number of L-1 visa allotments had fallen from its peak in 2011, and this could be because of an increase in rejection rates, onsite hiring, increase in L1 visa costs (revised special fee of USD 4,500), or lower renewals.

In contrast, the number of H-1B visa petitions approved overall by June 30, 2017 is 336,107, compared with 399,349 last year.

India continued to be the top beneficiary of the H-1B visa in 2017, and the number of H-1B visas it filed for until June 30 was 247,927. The number of visas filed last year was 300,902.

The H-2B programme allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs when US workers are not available. Indian IT workers do not usually use this category of visas.
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