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US visa cuts worry Indian techies

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  • US visa cuts worry Indian techies

    US visa cuts worry Indian techies

    India's software industry is expected to be hit by the US Government's decision to reduce the number of visas given to foreign workers.

    The number of H1B visas handed out every year has been reduced from 195,000 to 65,000 starting Wednesday.

    A six-year visa is given to foreign workers with special skills, education or other qualifications that are in demand in the US.

    Nearly half of the H1B visas are issued to Indian workers, mainly software professionals, every year.

    Long term impact

    Mr Ashok Laha, who runs a business process outsourcing unit, said India's software engineers will be most affected by the reduction.

    "There is a recession in the American market now, so the impact for the time being is minimal. But when demand picks up there is bound to be a long-term impact," he said.

    Mr P K Sandell, chairman of the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC), said the reduction in H1B visas will also affect India's "on-shore" software exports.

    This happens when Indian software engineers go abroad to complete work on contracts.

    "The on-shore software exports, which account for close to 30% of our overall software exports, will be affected," Mr Sandell said.

    The reduction, he added, would however not impact India's "off-shore" business, which accounts for the remaining 70% of total software exports.

    A number of information technology companies in the US had lobbied with the Congress not to cut back on H1B visas. But they have clearly failed in their efforts.

    Declining demand

    Deepa Thakur, a Texas-based lawyer dealing in immigration issues, said the reduction in H1B visa was mainly due to the declining demand for software professionals in the U.S.

    "During the boom in 1990s, there was a huge demand for software professionals in America. Now, with economic recession, the visa quotas are not being utilised," said Ms Thakur.

    "So it is being felt that 65,000 H1B visas would be sufficient."

    The visa cut is expected to increase the focus of India's software companies on alternate destinations like South East Asia and Europe.

    "India's core strength in software sector is in great demand. New markets such as Europe are keen to tap India's expertise in this sector," said Mr Sandell.

    Every year, close to 250,000 Indians apply for visas under various categories to the US
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  • #2
    It will affect the Indians in the US alone. It will not bother the US software businesses. They will merely outsource to India and maybe that will be cheaper and the till will tingle more loudly!

    It would be better for the US business since it will mean a trip or two very year to India by the US businessman and head rather than employing a whole lot of folks and paying them as per US standards.

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.