US immigration bill retains 'killer provision'

Posted By: PTI
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Washington, May 22: The ‘killer provision' of ban on client site placement for H1-B workers, which may prove to be detrimental to the interests of major Indian IT companies, remains in place despite a last-minute deal reached between key Senators on certain provisions of the immigration bill.

Continued presence of such a problematic provision in the bill, which was passed by a key Senate panel on Tuesday, industry sources said, would not only badly hit Indian IT companies, but also disrupt operational capabilities of a large number of key American companies as well.

"The ban on client site placement for H1-B Workers is the most damaging of all provisions of Senate Bill 744, which was not addressed by any of the amendments proposed by Senator Hatch on Wednesday.

"This specific provision flatly prohibits any company with more than 15 per cent of its workforce on H1-Bs from placing H1-B workers at client sites or contracting for the services of those workers," Ron Somers, President of the US India Business Council (USIBC), told PTI.

"If this provision becomes law, it will severely impact US companies' operational capabilities by disrupting such companies from sourcing their work from the most competitive service providers," Somers said after Senate Judiciary Committee passed the landmark Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill with more than 200 amendments.

Not addressing this key concern of the industry, Somers said, "represents the height of micro managing U.S. industry, in what I would describe as ‘maximum government', and flies in the face of the global free-market model" that the US is built upon.

"We remain hopeful that Senator (Orrin) Hatch and others of his stature will ultimately address these flaws in the draft bill. American firms require mobility to remain competitive, and mobility includes the free movement of technical professionals," Somers said.

The bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee only after Hatch reached a deal with the Senator Charles Schumer on certain key provisions of the bill related to H-1B visa, popular among Indians, which one American media outlet described as "coup for the tech industry."

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