Visa restrictions protectionist, says Nasscom

New Delhi, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
Nearly a fortnight after two US senators sent letters to Indian IT companies about alleged fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa programme, Nasscom on Wednesday replied on behalf of the nine Indian IT companies saying any fraudulent activity should be dealt with strictly.

However, the Nasscom lettersent to the two senators, Charles Grassley and Richard Durbindrew attention to the clause in the Immigration Bill that prohibits companies from hiring H-1B employees, saying its a protectionist measure that will affect Indian IT companies, reduce the number of H1- B holders going to the US and reduce the competitiveness of the IT industry in US. The letter also called for attention to the evidence of the contribution made by H-1B visa holders to innovation and entrepreneurship in the US which has resulted in job creation on a scale that is anecdotally well-known and widely-recognised.

On the linkage between layoffs and the H-1B visa, the letter said these two do not go hand in hand. It reiterated while the number of H-1B visas is currently very limited, they are not limited to the IT sector or to Indians alone. Of the H-1 B visas granted in 2006, nearly 14,000 (more than 20%) visas were granted to American educational institutions, the apex software body said. Correcting the belief that US-India trade is flowing primarily in one direction, Nasscom said US companies like HP, Dell, Microsoft and Oracle produce a majority of computers and software used in India.