By Shilpa Phadnis & Sujit John, TNN | 10 Aug, 2013, 05.16AM IST
BANGALORE: Indian IT companies are likely to step up sponsorship of green cards once the US tightens H-1B visa rules, enabling more Indians to settle abroad.
Currently, their green-card sponsorship is tiny compared to their H-1B (work visa) applications, according to data available on myvisajobs.com and visasquare.com. That's because a green-card application process costs over $2,000. A green card-holder gets more benefits than an H-1B holder and can easily change jobs. Importantly, the average salary of a green-card holder is $15,000-$20,000 more than that of an H-1B holder.
The US is likely to pass legislation that makes it more difficult and expensive to obtain H-1Bs for companies that already have a high proportion of employees in the US on H-1Bs. Infosys, for instance, is said to have 90% of its 15,000 employees in the US on H-1Bs.
No wonder, IT companies are looking beyond the H-1B era. iGate, for instance, is recruiting more "permanent residents" for the onsite delivery portion of its business, according to interim CEO Gerhard Watzinger.
Som Mittal, president of IT industry body Nasscom, looks at the new business dynamics. "Our business models are changing. We are getting into more business-oriented solutions and we need context and domain expertise, and that needs to be done sitting there than having it offshore."
Unlike most global IT companies, Cognizant has been among the top green-card sponsors in the US for many years now, says president Gordon Coburn.
"In fact, we have been the No. 1 or No. 2 sponsor of green cards for the past five years. We believe that in addition to hiring thousands of professionals locally, we not only need to attract the best talent from across the globe but also give it a path to permanent residency in the US and contribute to its innovation economy."
Others will follow suit. IBM's and Accenture's sponsorships of green cards have been modest so far. Myvisajobs.com puts the figure for Accenture at 115 between 2001 and 2012, and for IBM at a shade over 1,600, just slightly better than InfosysBSE 1.49 % at 1,503.
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