The recent introduction of a new immigration bill, one that has far-reaching ramifications for various businesses in the US, can open up a lot of opportunities for IT companies. While it is true that the current immigration laws of the country needs an overhaul, the fact remains that the current bill has polarized various groups. Some say that it is too weak, while others claim to be too liberal. So what is the real catch? How it affects IT companies, B2B leads generating services, or the market still remains to be seen. For the meantime, let us talk about the main takeaways about the bill:
The first, and perhaps the strongest, offer of the bill is the increased number of H1-B work visas, allowing more skilled foreigners entry to the country. This could be good news for IT companies, all who have been stumped with the lack of local talent to support their operations. IT lead generation firms can also benefit from this, since a lot of skilled marketers come from outside the country.
Second provision would be the so-called INVEST non-immigrant visa. This visa will allow more foreign entrepreneurs to stay. Even if there are big qualifiers attached, at least we are allowing more foreigners to invest in the country. This is especially true for IT-based outfits, most which are created by foreign firms. This will generate more jobs for the local population, giving more buying power to them. A spill-over effect of this will be the creation of more sales leads opportunities for other businesses, like advertising, telemarketing, services, and even manufacturing..
Third would be a merit-based immigrant visa process. Here, an immigrant can be granted a visa based on a point system of qualifiers, such as level of education, employment demand, and even proficiency in the English language. Provisions in the bill will allow the creation of 120,000 such merit-based visas.
Expansion of the E-verify system for employers is also another change. This provision will give more coverage for employers who wish to check the immigration status of their employees. Also, the expanded provision will require employers to new employee information on the database.
Last would be the creation of a W visa program for low-skilled workers. This will allow US-based companies to keep their workers whose skills may not fit the requirements for the H1-B work visa program. If passed, the program (scheduled to start in 2015) will create 20,000 visas for ‘low-skilled’ workers. This will function as an addition to the H-2B visa program for 66,000 non-agricultural seasonal workers. It can be especially useful for IT films with a lot of backroom clerical operations.
How will IT companies benefit from all this?
Truth to be told, there are a lot of jobs and business opportunities in the US. The problem here would be the availability of workers skilled for this type of work. We have to look outside the country if you want to get the people we need. Another point would be the flight of foreign students back to their countries. Think about it. We train and educate them. Come graduation time, since we do not allow them to stay and try their luck here, these foreigners go back to their home countries, bringing with them the knowledge and skills that could have been used here, especially those with oriented in the IT industry.