Visa reforms in the immigration bill will have a different effect on US and Indian firms. Both stand to benefit in the long run.
Visa reform proponents argue that the legislation could boost repatriation, nearshoring and rural sourcing, and domestic employment. On the other hand, corporations utilizing offshore providers and the providers themselves could decide that moving additional operations offshore is preferable to the uncertainty, risk, and exposure posed by visa issues. Or, companies could simply transfer in current H-1B visa holders from their providers as employees, rather than lose the institutional knowledge these individuals have acquired when it comes time to renew the visa.
Finally, changes in visa quotas could potentially result in a strategic step backwards in how clients and providers approach the service delivery supply chain.
As the sourcing market has matured, and as we've moved to a truly global delivery model, many companies have wisely focused on business outcomes rather than on staff-augmentation or labor rates of individual providers. In other words, if a provider can deliver to a defined level of quality at the lowest possible cost, then the company it works with needn't worry about where the work is done or by whom. This perspective allows service providers to use global delivery models, economies of scale, process efficiency and automation. If visa restrictions, regulations and fees around staffing become a concern, the model changes and providers are forced back into the business of micro-managing their geographical distribution of resources.
At this point we're still very much in a "wait-and-see" mode regarding the ultimate outcome of the visa legislation. Given that the high-skill visa issue is tied to the broader immigration reform question, it's likely that the legislation will fall victim to Washington politics and the end-result will be business as usual.
Nonetheless, companies and service providers should keep abreast of the issue and be prepared to respond with alternatives and risk mitigation strategies should visa changes become official.
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