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Anti H-1B visa abuse bill: Top 4 Indian IT companies lose over $3 billion in stock market

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Combined, 4 top Indian IT companies lost a whopping Rs. 22,000 crore.

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The far-reaching repercussions of an immigration bill reintroduced in the US Congress aimed at cracking down H-1B visa abuses have been felt in the IT stocks as many high-value shares of Indian tech companies fell up to 4%.

The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act reintroduced in the Congress by California Republican Darrell Issa has caused concerns in India as Indian IT companies depend on these visas to send skilled workers to the United States for fulfilling high-tech job needs of US companies at a low cost.

The share of India’s biggest IT company Infosys fell 2.50%, followed by TCS and Wipro which went down 2.18% and 2.18%, respectively, as the market closed on Friday.

The stocks of India’s three major IT companies were the worst hit on the Sensex benchmark that closed at 119.01 points lower at 26,759.23.

Tech Mahindra, another technology firm suffered, even greater loss as its shares crashed 3.80% on Friday. Other major companies that felt the burn on Friday following the reintroduction of the bill to stop H-1B visa abuses were Hexaware Technologies with 3.73%, HCL Tech with 3.55% and Mphasis with 2.20%.

The BSE IT index fell by 2.54 per cent to end at 9,880.61.

As the stock market closed on Friday, all four top technology firms – Infosys, TCS, Wipro and HCL Tech – together lost a whopping Rs. 22,000 crore ($3 billion ).

The Times of India quoted Anand James, chief market strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd  as saying: “Stocks continued the week-long surge, but with Q3 figures expected to flow in shortly, and with IT stocks bogged down by US visa restriction fears, profit-booking gained traction as the day drew to a close.”

on Janurary 3, California Republican Issa re-introduced the bill aimed at cracking down on the H-1B visa abuse by making major amendments to the existing program, allowing only highly skilled foreign employees work in the US.

The bill proposes a hike in the minimum salary of H-1B employees, and elimination of the masters’ quota/cap. The lawmakers have proposed an increase of $100,000 in the annual salary of H-1B employees.

The lawmakers are of the opinion that the legislation will ensure that only talented people from the world get an opportunity to work in the US, thus offering more job opportunity to US citizens.

The bill comes after a number of companies — among them, Disney, SoCal Edison, and others — came under fire for allegedly using the H1B program to replace American workers with foreign workers.