Nasscom faults selective restrictions on US visas

H-1B visas Nasscom says no impact as Assocham asserts lay-offs ahead

Immigration-related issues facing the software services sector-such as H-1B visa curbs in the USA and Australia scrapping the 457 visa-are just operational concerns for Indian IT companies, and the industry is taking steps to overcome them, Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said Thursday.

Amid concerns over the US' changed H1-B visa programme, India has said it was in touch with the Trump administration and making "full assessment" of its impact on Indian professionals.

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.

"Nothing is being proposed that would impact or change the fiscal 2018 H-1B lottery that is now underway".

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At a time when many countries are resorting to protectionism to save local jobs, they are also grappling with a shortage of skills at the higher levels in the IT industry, apex IT body Nasscom's president R Chandrashekhar said here on Thursday.

He said that he is not surprised since the problems are being faced not only by US-based Indians but people from other countries as well, who may be dependent on the United States for their livelihood. The programme will be replaced by another visa programme with new restrictions. Chandrashekhar also said that it is a misconception that majority of H-1B visas are grabbed by Indian companies.

Nasscom had on Wednesday said it would work closely with the Australian government to understand more details on the visa changes and ensure these changes can be implemented seamlessly to ensure business continuity for Australian customers. White House had reportedly said that the current USA visa programme was damaging American workers as it brought in cheap labour and some of the firms were making use of this to hire a large number of workers. "Senior Australian officials have conveyed to us that the impact of the changes will be negligible on Indian workers, most of whom fall in high skill category", the MEA said in a statement. Less than a week after the application period opened for 2017 H-1B visas, the annual cap was reached from a pool of 199,000 applications, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said earlier this month.

The MEA spokesperson said the executive order has to be "acted upon" and on the visa issue, while addressing the media, he told it will be a part of India's talks with the countries where changes in visa programme have been made.

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