Recently, the debate regarding US Immigration policy in terms of reform for H1b and L1 workers visa resurfaced at US Congress. Those visas are mostly used by temporary foreign workers to work in USA. Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reintroduced a bill which was designed to prevent any fraud or misuse of H1b and L1 visas.
Som Mittal, President of NASSCOM met with US Govt officials in the recent weeks. He briefed after the meeting that it is most unlikely that the above bill will be debated or voted at Senate soon.
I think immigration will be talked about in the fall, Mittal said, adding that even that timeframe could be optimistic considering the Obama administration and Congress are already dealing with so much, including proposals for health care reform, high U.S. unemployment, and pending Supreme Court nominations.
Both of the senators also commented that those two types of visa reform should be part of the bigger immigration reform if enacted in future. Mittal further reasserted that H1b and L1 visa program even shouldnt be a part of immigration reform, but, in fact, a trade policy. Mittal also opposes another killer provision of the bill that debars US companies to fire or lay off US workers 180 days before and after hiring.
Indian companies got about 12,000 of the total 85,000 workers visas that were allotted by US immigration last fiscal year and that includes 65,000 general H-1B visas and 20,000 exemptions for aliens who received advanced degrees from U.S. universities. But, the demand for H1b visa is down in this fiscal year. US immigration received only 45000 visa applications out of 65000 maximum cap. The Immigration offices starts taking application since April for this year. So, Mittal concluded that those two types of visas are related to supply and demand issue.
US Congress announced a stimulus package of $789 billion last Friday for Financial Service companies with provision that it is going to be more difficult to get Financial Aid for those companies who hire foreign workers for two years.