The Indian tech industry has welcomed the US President Joseph Biden’s stand on immigration and H-1B visa.
“President Biden has pledged a new approach on Trade and Immigration, as well as a renewed and revitalised interest in science and technology. We appreciate President Biden’s commitment to review and make necessary changes to harmful regulatory policies put in place by the previous administration,” said National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in a statement on Thursday.
The previous Donlad Trump administration had placed several curbs and made unfavourable changes to the H-1B visa rules, that is most commonly used by Indian software engineers to travel to the US for work.
Dexpite many representations from various quarters, the Trump administration had brought in harsh rules such as requiring selection of H-1B workers based upon highest salary, paying foreign workers significantly higher wages, redefined the employer-employee relationships and so on.
In a memo on Wednesday, the Biden administration either withdrew or froze some of these provisions.
“A modern US immigration system drives innovation,” said Jason Oxman, Information Technology Industry (ITI) President and CEO. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s planned actions make important and overdue investments in immigration reforms that can successfully meet the demands of a globally competitive, digital economy, including expanded visa programs for high-skilled workers and families,” he added.
Nasscom added that a key challenge the technology sector faces is the lack of required STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent in the US, clearly highlighted by the high degree of overall unemployment on one hand, and over 750,000 plus job vacancy postings for jobs in computer occupations as of 13 January 2021, a 20 per cent increase since May 2020.
“That is, despite high degree of overall unemployment in US, demand for high-tech skills continues to remain robust – clearly endorsing the argument that there are just not enough workers with relevant skills to fill them. The rules announced by the previous administration will worsen this talent gap. Nasscom has been actively engaged with US policy makers on these issues, and we look forward to working together with the new US Administration to find solutions to the STEM skills gap, and enable America to be more competitive, to grow and create more jobs,” Nasscom said in the statement.