Millennium Post

Treat IT professionals’ visas as trade issue, India tells US

India has asked the US to treat the issue of visa for IT professionals as a trade-related one rather than an immigration issue. During a meeting of the Indo-US Joint Working Group on ICT (Information, Communication and Technology), held in Washington last week, Indian and US officials
discussed the issue of visa for skilled IT professionals.

"During our meeting with the US officials we asked them to consider the visa for IT professionals as a issue relating to trade in services rather than an immigration issue," Department of Electronics and IT Secretary R S Sharma told reporters here. Indian software exporters TCS, Infosys, Wipro and others send employees to the US to service clients. The US accounts for about 65 per cent of their revenues.

The proposed Border Security Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernisation Act 2013, requires firms to reduce their visa dependence workforce over the next few years. This will force Indian companies to hire local talent in the US at higher cost. Many fear that the Bill, if passed in its current form, would hurt the margins of the Indian IT sector.

Sharma today met with the US Ambassador to India Richard Verma and signed a joint declaration of intent for cooperation in the field of Information & Communications Technology and Electronics (ICTE) between both the countries. "This step is likely to increase the partnership between both the countries on the Digital India programme, electronic manufacturing, cyber security and other related fields," Sharma told reporters after signing the declaration.

"The declaration adds to the natural convergence between both the countries and will strengthen cooperation between industries in the ICTE sector," the Ambassador said. The joint declaration of intent made for a period of next five years will help in strengthening industrial, technological, research & innovation and economic cooperation between India and US in the ICTE sector.

It would also lead to US firms exploring opportunities for collaboration in Digital India, electronics manufacturing and human resource development, through cooperation among private and public entities in a focused manner under the umbrella of the ongoing India-US ICT Dialogue, Sharma said.

He said the meeting of the Indo US Joint working Group on ICT was held in Washington last week and the next meeting is scheduled to take place in India in the next six months.

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