Nasscom hopes to overcome immigration-related issues

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In a separate event, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said that India is keeping a "close watch" on the US H1B Visa issue.

"The immigration related issues are some of the operational challenges which they face today".

The Australian Government recently announced that it would abolish the 457 visa and replace it with two new visas to protect the interests of native workers. Speaking about this trend, R Chandrashekhar, president of Indian IT Industry body Nasscom said that the concerns are due to the perceptions that the United States is increasingly becoming a protectionist regime. Instead, he has asked his department to suggest reforms to ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.

The MEA spokesperson also said India had already conveyed to the U.S. about the contribution of Indian IT professionals to the the country's competitiveness and innovation.

He said that the government is talking to industry bodies as the matter directly concerns Indian workers in the IT industry.

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The US sets an annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas, which includes 20,000 for foreign workers with advanced degrees.

"There is a mutuality of interests involved", he said, also referring to large number of U.S. professionals working in American IT companies in India. "So we are seeing different countries reacting to this situation in different ways but every country wants highly skilled people.the struggle really is how to define those high skills and how to ensure that the immigration policies of that country open the doors to highly skilled people", Chandrashekhar said on the sidelines of the Nasscom GIC Conclave 2017 here.

Nasscom also warned of the unintended consequences of using salary levels or skills as the metric to judge the merit of an H-1B application as it "could advantage certain regions such as Silicon Valley over other regions of the US" while also placing "federal bureaucrats in the role of technology consultants and human resource specialists".

To queries on many countries imposing visa restrictions that are bound to impact the Indian IT companies, he said globally there is a rising trend of protectionism and anti-globalisation and it was translating into policies.

He said India will make an overall assessment of the impact of the changes after the US' internal process relating to the visa programme was over.

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