The United States government have reported to the Indian government that there is currently no significant change to the H1-B visa system underway despite well publicised news that wide spread changes will affect the visa system. The reports state the through to 2018 there will be no significant changes and that the US administration intend to deal with illegal immigration rather than sweeping changes to existing visa regulations. The Commerce Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman made the announcement following discussions with a Congressional visit from Bob Goodlatte.
The announcement will come as a relief to the tech industry in particular who had been gearing up to changes to the visa system. However, it seems that tech companies are not leaving anything to chance and are already changing their strategy to minimise the impact of any H-1B visa changes.
The main change that they are reporting is that H1-B visas will not be applied for less experienced and skilled employees. Tech industry H1-B visas applications are widely expected to significantly fall over the next few years to allow India to protect their tech industry. A spokesman for Bangalore based tech company Natarajan said that they intended to return to local to reduce their dependence on the H1-B visa system. In the past Indian tech companies had applied for more visas than they actually required as the nature of the lottery system made this the best way to ensure success.
Whether the announcements that the H1-B visa system is to remain unchanged for now will alter that strategy remains to be seen but it is unlikely that Indian tech companies will feel much relief from the recent announcements. If they can build resilience to any changes in the visa system then they are expected to continue doing this in the light of the attitude of the United States leadership.