New US immigration system benefits Indians: Nasscom

The Indian IT industry’s representative body Nasscom Friday lauded the new US immigration system announced by its President Barack Obama earlier in the day and termed it beneficial to Indians living in North America.

“Obama’s executive action on fixing America’s broken immigration system will positively impact Indian residents and skilled workers in the US,” National Association of Software and Software Companies (Nasscom) said in a statement here.

Announcing the relief measures in his national address from Washington DC, Obama acknowledged the invaluable contributions skilled people made to the US economy and said the US was a nation of immigrants from the world over.

“The new measures will protect around five million undocumented immigrants from deportation and streamline procedures to retain students and skilled workers trained in the US,” Obama said on the occasion.

“The new regulation is a positive development for skilled Indian employees and entrepreneurs living in the US. Though details of the initiatives are awaited, we are happy to note that these policies did not reflect the pointers from the bill proposed earlier,” Nasscom president R. Chandrashekar said in the statement.

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The new regulation proposes to modernise and streamline visa processes, enhance OPT (optional practical training) or F-1 visa category to allow more workers to participate and those who do stay longer, modify H-1B visa for foreign entrepreneurs, issue green cards faster to skilled immigrants and enable their spouses to work while living in the US.

“We will continue to engage with the US government to maintain smooth trade ties in coming years,” Chandrashekar noted.

Along with the government, Nasscom has been conveying to the US the importance of India-centric firms and Indian talent to the US economy over the years to sustain a healthy business environment.

“We believe the new measures will help the US to attract and retain talent and address skills shortage,” Chandrashekar added.

According to a new Pew Research Centre report, about 450,000 Indians live in the US without proper documentation.

Of the estimated 11.2 million illegal immigrants in the US, Mexicans account for 5.9 million.

Around 8.1 million unauthorised immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the US labour force, with many of them engaged in menial low paying jobs, which Americans don’t want to do.

Another step that Obama proposed is allowing high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to the US economy. This proposal too will benefit Indians.

With 168,367 H-1B visas, India cornered nearly two-thirds of the total work permits for skilled workers in 2012.