November 4, 2010 5:41:33 pm
Two days ahead of the visit of US President Barack Obama,IT industry body Nasscom has shot off a letter to the US ambassador in India,Timothy Roemer,flagging concerns about rejection of business visas for Indian IT firms.
There have been concerns in the industry over an increasing number of visa applications by Indian IT companies being rejected.
Nasscom President Som Mittal told PTI that the software industry body has raised the issue with the US administration,but declined to give details on the contents of the letter.
Some also claim that there is greater aggression among immigration personnel at US airports towards Indians who arrive with valid business visas,with many professionals ending up deported.
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This assumes significance in the wake of the impending visit of Obama to India next week. Whether this issue will come up for discussion remains to be seen.
Earlier this year,the US government had hiked fee for H1-B and L1 visas,under which skilled workers get temporary work permit. The hike would hit the bottomline of the USD 50-billion Indian IT industry that sends many highly-skilled Indians to work there.
Indian IT sector earns more than half of its annual revenues from overseas markets,particularly the US.
The visa fee hike was followed by US state Ohio banning outsourcing of government IT projects,a step that further irked the Indian players. Both these moves coincide with a fragile recovery in the US economy coupled with high unemployment levels.
Obama has also suggested in the past that tax breaks for companies outsourcing work overseas could be ended.
Minister of State for IT and Telecom Sachin Pilot said the Indian IT companies are “not a problem” and suggested that they be made a part of the solution.
“They (Indian IT firms) are adding value. They are creating jobs for the local people whether in the US or Europe,” he said.
As per data available with the Indian IT industry body Nasscom,the top six Indian IT firms have created about 35,000 to 40,000 jobs in the US market alone.
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