Finance

Australia visa move unlikely to affect Indian IT workers: NASSCOM

Australia visa move unlikely to affect Indian IT workers: NASSCOM

He explained that now a "visa dependent" company is defined as one that has 15% or more workers on H1-B visas in the US.

Trump claims that several India IT companies have "abused" the U.S. visa policy by sending less-qualified professionals to the US.

New Delhi indicated it was keeping a close watch on the situation and would be "making an assessment".

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said, H1-B visas cap has remained at 65,000 since December 2004 when the H1-B Visa Reform Act was enacted by the US Congress.

Replying to query on the latest announcements curbings killed job visas by Australia and the United States, he said there is arising trend of "protectionism" globally and anti-globalisation.

In a blow to Indian IT industry and professionals, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its "abuse" and ensure that the visas are given to the "most- skilled or highest paid" petitioners.

To queries on many countries imposing visa restrictions that are bound to impact the Indian IT companies, he said globally there is a rising trend of protectionism and anti-globalisation and it was translating into policies.

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According to government statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia under the 457 Visa programme a year ago, with the highest proportion coming from India (24.6 per cent), followed by Britain (19.5 per cent) and China (5.8 per cent).

According to the ASSOCHAM paper, the reverses resulting from the tightening of the H1B visas would force IT giants to create fundamental changes in their strategies in terms of hiring, salaries, jobs, impacting employees in India too.

"As the 457 visa is valid till its expiry, its holders can stay and work in Australia although under a restricted occupation list category", it said.

The program, known as 457 visa, allows businesses in Australia to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers. IT industry watchers described it as a "surprise move" since 95,000 skilled migrants are in Australia on 457 visas, a sizeable portion being Indian techies.

The Indian IT industry, however, he said, was capable of transforming itself to the extent needed on these shifts.

Sources, however, said that the new order, though against the spirit of free services trade, is unlikely to affect big Indian IT companies having huge presence in the US.


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