Tata Consultancy CEO Warns The USA On H1B Visa Freeze

The chief executive officer of Tata Consultancy Services which is Asia’s largest IT services firm warned that a U.S. freeze on thousands of employment visas by President Donald Trump will only raise costs for American corporations like Wall Street banks, auto manufacturers and drugmakers.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) CEO Rajesh Gopinathan told Bloomberg News the move has put massive stress on a huge swath of Indian-born engineers that have lived in the U.S. for years and helped support American clients, who will ultimately be the ones hurt most. His remarks were among the strongest public rebukes from India’s $181 billion IT industry since U.S. President Donald Trump’s June decree to halt approvals for a range of visas until the end of the year — including those for intra-company transfers. 

TCS and peers like Infosys have relied for years on the ability to send talent to work alongside their customers overseas, which include some of the largest electronics manufacturers and global retailers. Investors worry that the inability to do so will hurt their competitiveness in the largest international market. “The ignorance around this ruling should be addressed,” Gopinathan said via video conference on Friday. “Playing with the status of people who’ve moved away from families and committed to spending five-six years in a foreign country without immigrant status to deliver value to customers, is a short-term gimmick,” the executive said.

Now there is a bit of self interest at work here. Tata and Infosys are used by US companies because they are cheaper, not because they are better. The IT industry has been replacing competent local staff with less competent and cheaper Indian staff for years now. Every IT type like me has seen this happen. Many of us have seen the disasters these cheaper staff create and are quite happy to see curbs on H1B visas.

Here’s the flip side. This could send tech workers of all sorts running to other countries like Canada. As it stands, Canada was becoming a tech hub thanks to Trump administration policies. Now I have seen an acceleration of this because of the latest move by Trump. That cannot end well for the US.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. My guess is that this is far from over.

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