What does Balaji Viswanathan think about Donald trump's H1B visa bill? How could it effect the IT sector in India and is it preferable to pursue MS in USA after this bill?
Would love for Balaji Viswanathan (பாலாஜி விஸ்வநாதன்) to answer this.Meanwhile a similar question was answered on Quora here. I’ll paste my answer from there:tl,dr: If it passes the way it is worded, the bill will reduce the pool of available visas to Indian IT firms. But 130K is not the minimum wage those clickbait headlines make it to say, that’s something different.Let me explainFirst, some background:1. Indian IT firms are very large users of H1BIn fact, some would say, that they are the biggest users. e.g. see here: Indians got 86% of the H1B visas for tech firms issued by the US in 2022 - The American Bazaar2. There is wide-spread myth in the US about “H1B workers taking jobs” from AmericansJobs are outsourced due to cost-savings of globalization, not due to H1B. For every IT worker Indian companies bring to US, there are 10 that are back in India, doing the work. Sponsoring H1B visas is also expensive viz. $8–10K, and the whole point of outsourcing is not to increase costs. It’s hence in the interest of IT companies to bring as few workers as possible. But there is just so much work outsourced and massive cost savings thereof.Yes, some American workers do lose their jobs, but it’s because of reduced costs due to globalization, and not because of H1B. e.g. if a company outsources 100-workers• worth work to India, the work of 80 of those 100 workers will now be done offshore, and not in US. Only about 20 workers• worth of work will be done locally, which may be displaced by H1B workers.Also, note that most of those 100 jobs, are relatively low-skilled jobs. Do you really think a company is going to outsource their most important jobs to overseas people?However, whenever even few jobs are lost, it gets a lot of bad press and complains to the lawmakers• offices. A little too much of it. That is what prompts legislators to bring these reform acts. After all, they also want to feel relevant, like all of us are.Now let’s analyze the bill in some detailHere is the current wording of the bill, for the curious, patient and frustrated: https://lofgren.house.gov/upload...At first, I was shocked, when I read that “minimum is 130K” headlines. But when I dug into it more, I realize that 130K is not what it means.It’s only for “H1B dependent employers”H1B dependent employers are employers with at least 15% workers that are H1B dependent. Turns out, most Indian IT firms are not H1B dependent employers. See here: H-1B-dependent employer - Wikipedia . There are intricate ways of calculating and attesting that, and the bill doesn’t address any of that.[Edit: A couple of readers pointed out, that many Indian IT firms are indeed classified as H1B dependent. For this, a more reliable source than Wikipedia is: Solution for Work Visa, Student Visa, Visa Jobs and Green Card . Note though, there too, you will still find some LCA applications from the same employers, which are filed indicating no H1B dependency. That may be a mistake on their part]130K is not minimum wage - it’s the exemption limitIt simply means, that if you don’t want to pay that much, you have to fill out some extra paperwork viz. “attestations” that you won’t do such and such things. All those “things” to be attested/promised are very fluffy and difficult to prove. And have been around since the 90s. This bill doesn’t address any of that.130K is not just salary, it includes other thingsLanguage includes doing a “market based compensation”, including “cash bonus” and “other similar compensation”. It’s anyone’s guess how this can be gamed. This bill doesn’t pay attention to that.In other words, no “130K” isn’t too relevant to Indian IT firms.What may affect the Indian IT firmsThe thing that may affect IT companies, is the intent of the bill to do “market based” allocation. e.g. if some employer is willing to pay 200% of wage, they will get a preference in allocation.In order to reduce costs, IT firms will very likely not pay very high salaries to H1B workers they bring here, and thus may lose those visa applications to other employers willing to pay higher.Reservation of 20% of quota for small employers will also reduce the pool of available visas for these big firms.Plus, the minimum wage tier has also been removed, which will increase costs for the IT firms.However, writing was on the wall for a number of years and these firms have already anticipated this tightening. They have hence moved a lot of their visa allocation to L1 visas.The bill doesn’t address the real issueThe way it is, falls short in a number of ways in addressing real problems. Apart from the ones I mentioned earlier, the other real issue, is the power imbalance between the employer and the employee. The employer has just so much influence on the job and say on the career of the employee, that you can easily find H1B employees stuck working for same employers for years together, with low salaries.The other thing influencing condition of H1B workers, is the one following and bigger mess viz. Green Cards, which has ridiculousness of its own. That is also not addressed by this bill.Finally, there are multiple such billsSo this is not the only H1B reform bill. While this is the most jazzy of all reform bills bill, there are multiple bills. We don’t know which bill will be discussed/enacted.If you are in the US or planning to come to US, your best bet is to work for some of the top employers. e.g. Google, Facebook, etc, who have offices all around the world.Work hard to get in there, get treated fairly, get paid very well, and make an amazing career without worrying about this political mess.