Jag Venugopal's Blog

September 2, 2009

Nasscom and the US “Service Visa” proposal

Filed under: India,Information Technology — Jag @ 5:57 pm
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It is stupefying how a supposedly expert body such as Nasscom could come up with a proposal for a “service visa”, as described in this article. Any PR company worth its retainer could have advised them that their proposal was both ill-timed and delivered to the wrong forum.

To ordinary Americans, it probably smacks of arrogance. The message says “we’re here to take your jobs, and we’re giving you advice on what you can do to make this process easier”. To Congress, it says “never mind that we’re a foreign entity, here are some suggestions on how you ought to tackle immigration reform”.

Outsourcing is a huge concern in the US today, especially with the record levels of unemployment seen in the last year. Now would be a really bad time to publicly announce cockamamie visa suggestions to a foreign government. If Nasscom had any sense, it would:

  • Publicly commit its members to hiring more stateside employees, to build goodwill (or to erase at least some of the ill-will).
  • Make a highly visible gesture to demonstrate that outsourcing can coexist with a good job market in the US. One example would be making a noticeable endowment to a US University for an MIS professor.
  • If it does want to influence visa rules, by all means it has the right, but to do so through targeted lobbying and not through grand public pronouncements.

I’m afraid that Nasscom’s ill timed lecture to Congress will only make matters worse for any meaningful increase in H1B visas.

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