Indian IT companies will need to be content with the existing visa options for the United States as the US Congress, the country’s highest lawmaking body, is not likely to take up the issue of immigration reforms in the short-term.
Presently, Indian and multinational technology firms primarily rely on H1B and L1 visas for sending Indian passport-holding employees to work temporarily in the US. However, this practice has recently come under review as the American government attempts at protecting the employment opportunities for its domestic workforce, which is reeling under the impact of the slowdown.
Though the Barack Obama-led administration is interested in undertaking certain modifications to the existing visa regime, changes to the immigration policy will require an amendment to the existing legislation, US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Janice L Jacobs said.
“Reforming the immigration policy was under consideration by the earlier (George W. Bush) administration and is something that the US Congress will take up sometime in the future. We don't know when this will happen but President Obama is interested in the matter,” Jacobs said.
While the US Congress has been debating over health care reforms that Obama wants to push through, climate change could be the next issue of discussion that the legislative body takes up, she explained.
After facing criticism from certain sections of US lawmakers for allegedly misusing visas, Nasscom — the Indian IT industry’s apex body — had recommended the introduction of a service visa or work permit allowing foreign nationals to visit the country with relation to their jobs for a temporary period.