NAFTA Gives Indian Outsourcers Another Visa Option

Ann All

For the first year in recent memory, there are plenty of H-1B visas to go around. As of last month, 20,000 of the 65,000 controversial H-1B visas awarded each year were still available.


The recession likely has as much to do with it as anything, although the federal government has placed restrictions on the hiring of H-1B workers by U.S. financial institutions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has pledged to crack down on fraud in the H-1B program.


Still, this threatened political pressure may cause Indian outsourcing providers to hiremore workers to Mexico and then move them to the U.S., a relatively simple process thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement.


Indian companies could hire Mexican citizens who'd be eligible for a TN visa, used by Mexican and Canadian nationals who can meet educational and professional experience requirements, reports Computerworld. Anastasia Tonello, a lawyer interviewed in the article, says there is no cap for the NAFTA Professional TN visa, which is good for three years and can be extended. It's also easier to get than the H-1B, she says.


Phaneesh Murthy, president and CEO of IT services provider iGate Corp., a company headquartered in California that employs most of its 6,500 workers in India, mentioned the issue in a recent earnings call, telling analysts:

We will probably utilize a higher growth in our Mexican center by having more people come from Mexico to the U.S., where they don't need the H-1B because of being part of NAFTA.

Indian outsourcing companies have been beefing up their presence in Mexico for at least a few years. When I wrote about it in 2007, Wipro and Infosys were opening software development centers there and Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Indian government officials had agreed to a goal of more than doubling trade between the two countries by 2010 during Calderon's visit to India. Calderon was the first Mexican president to visit India in 22 years. Only a tiny portion of Indian companies' workforces are currently based in Mexico, the article notes.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 7, 2009 5:11 PM Karoline Karoline  says:

You wrote: "may cause Indian outsourcing providers to send more workers to Mexico and then move them to the U.S.,"

Are they going to turn the Indian workers into Mexican citizens?  The TN visa is only for citizens of Mexico and Canada.

They might need to rethink this stupid plan. It has a major flaw.

Aug 7, 2009 5:47 PM Check your facts Check your facts  says:

get your facts right, Indians cant "use" the NAFTA visa, the Indians companies would be hiring mexicans who would then use the Visa and help the Indian operations n the US

Aug 7, 2009 5:52 PM Ann All Ann All  says: in response to Check your facts

I confess I didn't research this thoroughly and the above commenters are correct. I've changed the post to reflect this. Thanks for your sharp eyes. (Though I'd prefer you kept your comments a little less sharp.)

Aug 9, 2009 2:58 PM JL JL  says:

If Indian Outsources were to try to use NAFTA to circumvent the will of the US congress, what does that say about the Indian Outsources?

Trying to scam the system would be the correct answer.

My next question is.

If you got a company trying to scam the US government, why would you want to do business with them?

Beats me, would be the correct answer!

Aug 15, 2009 5:13 PM Rick Rick  says:

False!!, Indians can't get TN Visa, only canadians and mexicans. Skilled Mexicans are cheaper like 2 to 1 than americans, Indians are like 6 to 1 so I don't see that "Advantage" that the article says. Indians will try to attend most of their americans operations from India with a little worklabor hired in Mexico (Just because they share the same time zone), that will be the next move. Trust me.

Aug 28, 2009 10:58 AM rapid rapid  says: in response to Rick

Great Post ! Rock On

Rapid Visa



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