US projects positive aspects of immigration bill to India

Official points out near tripling of H1B visas

By R. Chandrasekaran

CHENNAI: The U.S. administration is trying to project the favorable aspects of the comprehensive immigration bill by its rhetoric that the bill will benefit skilled workers from India.

Just ahead of the US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to India, a senior official from the Obama administration put up a brave face to say, “over all the bill and its provisions around H-1B visas would not only be good to the United States, but would be good for India as well.”

The comments can also be viewed as stemming from the aftermath of the recent visit of finance minister P. Chidambram’s to the U.S.

India and its IT companies are up in arms against the killer provisions of the Senate version of the comprehensive immigration bill. Chidambaram, India’s commerce minister Anand Sharma and some of the representatives from the Indian corporate world, had raised this issue with American officials during their visit to Washington, DC, last week. However, the administration seems to have not been convinced with the Indian government’s views.

While the bill got the Senate nod recently, it’s facing stiff resistance in the House of Representatives.

According to the spokesperson, the bill will nearly triple H-1B workers, which would benefit a large number of Indians who wish to work in the US.

The official further went on to defend the bill by saying, “In fact because of the Senate bill, which would dramatically increase the ceiling of the H-1Bs, many more Indian university graduates would be able to, if this became law, work on a temporary basis in the US, learning new skills which in some case they would bring back to India.”

The Indian IT companies and the trade body National Association of Software Service Companies (NASSCOM) have concerns that the bill, if it is passed in its curren t form, will undoubtedly hurt the IT companies.

The recent press briefing by the Obama administration could well be the official line of convincing of the Indian government authorities when the vice president visits India. However, the issue is not likely to be resolved unless both governments come down to sit together to iron out differences.

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