U.S. Bill Proposing Doubling of Visa Fees Sinks Indian IT Stocks

  • Higher fees to cost employers $4.2 billion over 10 years
  • Omnibus spending bill comes for vote in Congress this week

Shares of Indian software services companies fell as a bill proposing doubling of worker visa fees comes up for vote in the U.S. Congress this week.

The S&P BSE Information Technology Index declined for the first time in seven days amid concern companies in the U.S. relying on highly skilled foreign workers will have to pay more for their visas. The proposal will cost employers $4.2 billion over 10 years, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Caitlin Webber said, citing the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India’s biggest software services company, fell 0.8 percent to 2,419.50 rupees as of 9:45 a.m. in Mumbai, set for the steepest loss since Dec. 4. Infosys Ltd., the second largest, dropped 1.2 percent to 1,093.45 rupees, while HCL Technologies Ltd. slipped 0.3 percent. The BSE IT Index slid 0.8 percent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a Twitter post this week, said he had shared his concerns over the proposed legislation with President Barack Obama during a phone call between the two leaders. TCS, Wipro Ltd., Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., IGate Corp., Infosys and HCL are among companies that have large population of workers in the U.S. on H-1B or L-1 skilled visas, Webber said in her note.

Under the proposal, the supplemental H-1B visa fees could jump to $4,000 each from a $2,000 fee put in place in 2010, and the higher cost will expire in 2025, according to Webber.

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