Indian Software Industry Calls US bill on H1B Visas Unfair

Describing it as detrimental to the growth of Indian software companies, the Indian software industry has opposed a US bill that seeks to make it mandatory for American companies to fill vacancies with locals before opening them up to adept foreign workers.

Som Mittal, president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said that the stated objective of the bill is to stop fraud and visa abuse but many of its provisions are against the principles of free trade and are creating trade barriers.”

“In many ways, it’s targeting Indian companies and restricts their ability to compete in the US marketplace,” he said in a statement, adding, “This is also against President (Barack) Obama’s stand against protectionism at the G20 summit.”

It should be mentioned that on Thursday Dick Durbin, a US Senators, a Democrat and a close aide of Obama, and Republican Chuck Grassley brought in a bill that necessitates American companies to make a “good faith effort” to look for domestic workers before opting for the H-1B visa route.

The premise that H-1B visas was being use to displace American workers is misplaced, Nasscom said. It also cited an analysis of the H-1B visas issued last year which said Indian companies had been allocated only 12,000 visas in 2008, out of the total limit of 85,000 visas.

Needless to add, the H-1B is a non-immigrant work visa, allowing skilled foreign citizens to work in the US for as long as six years.

In a joint statement, Senators Durbin and Grassley said, “The H-1B visa was intended to be used only as a temporary measure when qualified Americans weren’t available for highly specialised jobs. With unemployment at rates higher than we’ve seen in decades, there is no shortage of people looking for work, so companies should need (fewer) H-1B visas than last year.”

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