ibusinesslines.com September 24, 2017

In touch with US, Australia govts on visa issues

20 April 2017, 07:21 | Erica Roy

Indian techies working in Australia would not be affected by its government's move on visas granted to them under a specific category, said the Indian IT industry's representative body Nasscom on Wednesday.

Australia on Monday announced the scrapping of a visa programme used extensively for transfer of skilled foreign workers while US President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to overhaul the H-1B system popular with Indian techies.

After the U.S. and Australia announced tightening of their work visa programmes, the Indian government said that it was consulting both foreign governments and other stakeholders to assess the impact on its outwardly mobile skilled workforce, The Economic Times reported.

The cap for the H-1B visas had remained at 65,000 since December 2004, when the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 was enacted by the US Congress, the spokesperson said.

"Our initial assessment is that the move should not have a major impact on visas granted to Indian IT workers as the 457 visa category covered a lot of fields and was hard to manage", Nasscom said.

India and France had also agreed last year to allow Indian students at the masters level and above to extend their stay in France for two years, the spokesperson added.

After signing the order, Trump asked his Secretary of State, Attorney General, Labor Secretary and Homeland Secretary to propose new rules and issue new guidance to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance to protect the interests of the USA workers in the administration of the immigration system. Chandrashekhar also said that it is a misconception that majority of H-1B visas are grabbed by Indian companies.

Indian professionals in the USA are a anxious lot after the Trump administration has implemented the H-1B policy changes. While it is true that 70% of H-1B visas are issued to Indian nationals, Indian companies actually get less than 20% of H-1B visas.

Earlier on Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced he would be abolishing the existing 457 Visa programme, now used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment in the country.

"We are an immigration nation but the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs", Mr Turnbull said on Facebook. The country will adopt a new "Australians first" approach to skilled migration, he said.

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