Saturday, July 12, 2003

H1B visa in danger

The Hindustan Times reports: After moves to restrict L-1 employment visas, a member of the US Congress has now introduced a bill seeking the very abolition of the coveted H-1B visas, whose main beneficiaries have been Indian tech workers. {complete article}. We already have to deal with the H-1B programme rolling back to its pre-2000 level of 65,000 visas a year. If you remember, during the IT boom, the US had in 2000 raised its annual cap on these visas to 195,000, but only for a three-period. And now we have this bill. The Economic Times has more information and some interesting numbers in this regard. Gopal Raju, chairman of the Indian American Centre for Political Awareness, correctly notes: "There is little evidence that these jobs could be filled immediately by permanent residents and citizens. These jobs would most likely be outsourced, further hurting the economy by removing a substantial tax base." India's contribution to the H-1B visa pool has been dipping over the years: 77,000 H1-B visas in 2001, only 33,000 in and expected to drop to 30,000 this year.

Meanwhile, the rupee grows larger against the $ making the US of A a cheaper destination for tourist travel, higher studies and medical treatment.

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