Visa rejections hurting IT cos in US
Posted on April 7, 2012
BANGALORE: The US visa restrictions are causing huge disruptions in the onsite activities of Indian IT companies. Visa rejections are at an all-time high and companies are not able to send enough support and maintenance staff to their client locations overseas to complete projects on time.
“We promised a client in the Bay area that we would be sending 15 people from India to support it onsite. But we could send only three people, the rest were denied visas,” said the global sales head of an IT firm in Bangalore who did not want to be named. He said the client was very unhappy because it meant they had to depend on available alternatives, which were either costlier or of poorer quality.
Another official of an IT firm said that the visa scarcity was compelling Indian companies to hire additional talent at the customer location, paying often as much as 60% more. “It has a direct impact on our margins. For almost half a dozen clients, we have not been able to meet delivery commitments in time. On some occasions this even led to heated arguments with the clients,” he said.
A group of domestic and US IT firms recently sought the intervention of US President Barack Obama to resolve the visa issue. In a letter to Obama, companies including Wipro Technologies, TCS, Cognizant, HP, Intel , Microsoft, Accenture and many others said immigration authorities were exceeding the law in rejecting their applications for L-1 visas, which are used for intra-company transfers of employees from foreign offices to US offices. Between 2005 and 2007, the denial rate for L-1 petitions ranged from 6 to 7%, in 2008 it rose to 22% and reached 27% in 2011.
L-1 is a visa given for intra-company transfers of specialist talent. “But what is understood as specialisation by Indian companies is often not understood by the US consulates. So there is always this perception difference,” said an immigration consultant at a leading IT firm.
At the same time, companies are very eager to secure L1 visas, as they are almost 50% cheaper than H-1B visas. An L-1 visa costs $2,300 (end to end cost for application to work permit), while it is $5,300 for an H-1B visa, which comes with an annual quota of 65,000.
But some blame the Indian companies. “L-1 is an austerity measure for companies today. They apply for L-1 visas even when they require H-1 B visas. The consulates are aware of all these Indian tricks. Rejections happen due to this too,” said Pradip Tukral, a visa consultant.
Mini Joseph Tejaswi
5 Apr 2012
Accenture, Barack Obama, Cognizant, H-1B visa, HP, Indian IT companies, Intel, IT firm, L-1 visas, Microsoft, TCS, US consulates, Visa Applications, visa consultant, visa rejections, Wipro Technologies