NASSCOM STATEMENT: DELAY ON DHS RULE ON H-1B ALLOCATION

On February 4th, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a notice for proposed delay of a rule issued in the final days of the Trump Administration that sought to change the existing H-1B selection process to prioritization based on wage level. Under the proposal, DHS will push the effective date of the rule from March 9th 2021 to December 31, 2021. Also during the delay, DHS will review the rule as a whole for potential changes or rescinding it. The notice is to be published in the Federal Register on February 8th, 2021. Comments on the proposed delay will be accepted for 30 days post-publication. This follows an announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this week to delay the effective date of the final rule affecting wages for H-1B workers to May 14, 2021.

NASSCOM welcomes this announcement by DHS including undertaking a detailed review of the rule. Rather than follow the clear language and intent of the statute, the agency had sought to move from the existing selection process for H-1B visas. Prioritizing purely on wage levels has the potential to significantly damage some of the most innovative companies in the world along with many hospitals and health care providers, research facilities, universities and other petitioners.

We believe it is important for the U.S. to be able to access talent critical to the COVID recovery phase. While NASSCOM member companies have increased local hiring and focus their efforts on local STEM skills development, the visa program bridges a critical skills gap, enabling America to become more competitive globally. NASSCOM will be filing comments in support of the delay and look forward to also sharing our views with DHS as it reviews the rule as a whole.

***

About NASSCOM

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM®) is the premier trade body and chamber of commerce of the Tech industry in India and comprises over 2800-member companies including both Indian and multinational organisations that have a presence in India. Our membership spans across the entire spectrum of the industry from start-ups to multinationals and from products to services, Global Service Centers to Engineering firms. Guided by India’s vision to become a leading digital economy globally, NASSCOM focuses on accelerating the pace of transformation of the industry to emerge as the preferred enablers for global digital transformation.  Our strategic imperatives are to reskill and upskill India’s IT workforce to ensure that talent is future-ready in terms of new-age skills, strengthen the innovation quotient across industry verticals, create new market opportunities – both international and domestic, drive policy advocacy to advance innovation and ease of doing business, and build the Industry narrative with focus on Talent, Trust and Innovation. And, in everything we do, we will continue to champion the need for diversity and equal opportunity.

NASSCOM has played a key role in not just the growth of the Industry to become a $180+Billion industry today, but we have helped establish the Tech industry in India as one of the most trusted partners, globally. NASSCOM continues to make significant efforts in contributing towards India’s GDP, exports, employment, infrastructure development and global visibility. Our membership base constitutes over 95% of the industry revenues in India and employs over 4 million professionals, and as technology blends into every aspect of the economy, we expect the industry to become key driver of growth, development and inclusion for the country. Our mission is to make India a global hub for Innovation and Talent so when the world thinks Digital, the world will think India.

2