I joined my first job on 10th December 2007 as an IT consultant. Although my designation was Programmer Analyst trainee my understanding of the industry was a big zero. I used to think in an IT consulting firm I will be able to work on actual software programs and be part of developing products like we used to see MS word and others. So, you can figure out how ill-informed or ignorant I was.
Anyway, after a few days in the job, we/ I heard how great the past was in a fast-growing IT consulting firm. The year-end gifts, bonuses, free cab rides at night, free snacks, etc. Right after college, I did not know what to think. I had nothing to something. So, I liked what I saw. Anyway, after the global financial crisis, everything went downhill. Without going into details of that, let us come back to the topic we are going to address in this post. I have worked in Australia and the USA since 2011. And I have witnessed the change in the USA in front of me. So, I have concluded that. The people who are getting into IT, they should have fewer expectations about getting onsite opportunities, especially in the USA, where most of the opportunities are.
Inhouse IT Capabilties –
In 2014, I was working for Capital One. And I noticed they were hiring IT employees in house. They were hiring them as contractors, then after 6 months, offering full-time jobs. These guys were mostly Indians, on the visa. Go back in the 1910s, and think what British used to do. The middle manager or team lead equivalent in the army were still Indians, that is exactly what you will see in IT services. And that way, Indian consultants are also in check, because the Indian IT manager already knows the trick the consultants are going to apply. And when the long hours and weekend works need to be done, Indians on Visa are the best candidates to do that.
Political Movement against Visa holders
In 2016 when Trump won the election, America had a strong sentiment against foreigners. They were thinking China is killing their industries and Indians are stealing their jobs ( read foreign aliens, that is the official word here). So, do not blame Trump. As a result, you saw scary articles in the newspaper, predicting Trump will revoke visas and all. Anyway, now the scrutiny has gone up, green card dream has become a little more far fetched. Companies do not want to hire H1 visa holders due to uncertainties, I am talking about IT services related job here though.
Now, you can ask me, how do I know Americans are against immigrant workers? I would say, look at the government policies, and when you talk to Americans who are candid to you, they might tell you, how they think that these foreigners are taking all the good jobs. I am not going to into discussion if they are right or wrong. Because that is for the political leaders to decide, not me.
So, if you think once the covid is over and Trump is gone, everything will be fine, let me assure you, YOU ARE WRONG. America will not gain much by giving you citizenship, but they will gain a lot by keeping you on visa. Moreover, Americans do not want IT consultants anymore.
Will The New H1B Visa Changes Be Positive? In a broad sense, it cannot be. If the visa bumps up the salary, that will immediately increase salary cost of the employers like Facebook, Microsoft, Infy, TCS and CTS. Then the question will come, is the billing rate for these H1 holders being increased, or in other words, is the client going to pay more for H1B resource? Answer in most cases would be NO. Companies, with very limited opportunity to increase revenue, have mostly used various ways to cut cost to increase margin, so chances will be lower. But what I am saying is very one sided and an average scenario. There will be many exceptions to this scenario. New technology that is in demand will create opportunities or a sudden requirement that cannot be filled, are some situations coming to my mind.
Tightened Visa Norms:
After Trump came to power, everyone started blaming Trump for visa rejection. But the worse is the H amendment every time you move with the USA. And now today, they have hiked the fees. You know in the last section I told you, America gains if you are on a visa. America makes money when you apply for a visa, America makes money when you file renewal, amendment., America makes money from the tax you pay. So, visa it is.
Campus hires in the USA
Loads of foreign students come for higher studies in the USA. And in the job fair, the IT consulting firms offer them jobs. This was one way to immigrate to the US for international students. And the services companies could say that they are hiring locally, creating local jobs, and they save money in the process. A lot of campus hires were Indians, at least that is what I saw till 2016 -2017. They were serving the purpose of being local hire and they would endure the late night works or early morning meetings too. But, now I am noticing another change, a lot of Americans are being hired. You can understand why and notice the shift. Hiring locals did not mean, hiring Americans. Anyway, IT consulting firms are hiring locally and reducing dependency on visas for good. And this is irreversible in the short term. Because they are investing in real estate and local talents. although COVID has rained in that parade. COVID has imposed a ban on travel, people cannot work from home and clients would reduce spending, which means low-cost offshore resources will be needed, not expensive American workers.
Anyway, these are some major changes I see in the industry and American political and social direction. A lot of American kids are studying computer science and coming into these IT consulting jobs. And I am sure they are ill-informed as I was. Point is, given that consulting firms do not want to hire H1 or bring them over, because of the uncertainty, for some reason nobody wants to hire H1, there is no quick and easy path to a green card, and locals are finally ready to do these jobs, I see a very limited opening for Indian IT guys in the USA. Saying that, I would like to specify, I do not think there will not be an opportunity at all, there will be for extraordinary talents. Average ones will probably lose the most. But I have a suspicion that probably social acceptability will go down, regardless of who loses an election or who winds. Please remember the president is just one person, behind that person, there is a huge crowd, and their perception and thought process.