Fearing Trump’s visa stance, Indian IT firms are spending top dollar on lobbying

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As US president Donald Trump threatens to tighten immigration policies, Indian tech giants are lobbying harder in Washington than before.

In 2017, India’s second-largest IT services company, Infosys, spent $200,000 (Rs1.3 crore) on lobbying the US Congress, four times more than it did in the previous year, data from non-profit Center for Responsive Politics showed. Wipro, the third-largest in the sector, spent $130,000—five-and-a-half times more than a year ago.

The country’s largest IT company, TCS, also increased its spend on lobbying to $110,000 in 2017, up 37%.

Such lobbying (i.e., trying to wield influence on policy-making) has gained unprecedented importance for Indian IT companies since Trump took office in January 2017. His administration has made several moves to make the “Buy American and Hire American ” vision come true. This has made the application process for the highly sought-after H-1B visas harder for computer programmers . Indian IT companies are the biggest beneficiaries (pdf) of the H-1B visas, while the US is their biggest market.

However, in 2017, India’s IT trade association Nasscom’s lobbying expenditure fell 11% to $390,000. The organisation had spent an all-time high of $440,000 in the election year 2016.

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