Politics and IT clash in visa issue

by Dave Hannon

November 10, 2010

By Dave Hannon

While I was researching for a Project Expert article on ERP skills, Brian Trout
of B2B Workforce, mentioned the changes in H1B visa rules in the U.S. and their impact on IT organizations. The issue’s been sitting in the back of my head since that interview and, with the President on a trade mission to India this week, is came back squarely into mind and I decided I’d try to gauge other members’ opinion on the issue.

For those who haven’t read about it, the change in visa rules came as part of a broader border security bill passed this summer. The idea is that by increasing the fees that companies have to pay for these work visas, the more those companies will consider hiring U.S. workers instead. And those increased fees would be used to fund U.S.-Mexico border security measures. As reported in Project Expert, under the new rules, companies with more than 50 workers or more than 50% of its workforce on H1-B visas will see the cost of each application climb dramatically (one published report says the cost will go from $320 to $2,000 per application), which could dramatically impact the cost structures of US companies that rely heavily on foreign IT workers. It could also impact where major outsourcing firms that pay the fees for their own workers, like Infosys, decide to send their workers.

But the impact of the measure on IT organizations has been swept under the rug a bit, especially during the President’s recent visit to < st1:place>India where many Indian media outlets thought it would be front and center. (US media have basically ignored the issue from the start).

It’s a complicated issue and certainly can’t be accurately covered here in a single blog post, but I wanted to see if any of your IT organizations expect to be impacted by these rules. Maybe your IT organization is changing its plans for 2011 based on these rules? Maybe you're an SAP consultant that expects to be reassigned due to the fee hikes?

Or maybe you're using SAP ERP HCM to help navigate the issue somehow?

Post a comment here or feel free to email me or connect with me here on ILN to chat more.

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