Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the U.S. next week, seeking to convince President Donald Trump to continue a key visa program that has allowed information technology companies to send skilled workers to the U.S. and flourish. Nasscom, the Indian IT industry’s trade body, said Modi will explain during the two-day visit how the program has benefited both countries. “The IT industry has been key to American corporations’ innovations and competitiveness and over three-quarters of the top 500 U.S. companies use Indian IT services,” said R. Chandrashekhar, Nasscom’s president. “The time to talk is now.”
Trump began a crackdown on the H-1B visa program that lets thousands of skilled Indian workers live and work in the U.S. The visa holders serve as critical staff for IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Ltd., Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and Wipro Ltd. The administration said in an order in April it would combat ‘fraud and abuse’ within the visa program, saying it favors foreign workers at the expense of American jobs. In India, IT companies have started to cut jobs, and workers are blaming Trump for the firings.
The U.S. accounts for more than 60 percent of the $120 billion outsourcing industry. Outsourced IT services are a vital component of the Indian economy and the Trump administration’s visa moves affect the $70 billion worth of annual outsourcing contracts that IT services companies gain from the U.S.