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Nasscom writes to Roemer on visa issue

Som Mittal, president of the software industry body, said they had written to US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer about the visa rejections being faced by Indian IT firms.
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twitter-logo PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: November 6, 2010  | 12:44 IST

A day ahead of US President Barack Obama landing in India, information technology (IT) industry body Nasscom has shot off a letter to US ambassador in India Timothy Roemer, flagging concerns about rejection of business visas for Indian IT firms.

There have been concerns in the industry over an increasing number of visa applications by Indian IT companies being rejected.

Nasscom President Som Mittal said the software industry body has raised the issue with the US administration, but declined to give details on the contents of the letter.

Some also claim there is greater aggression among immigration personnel at US airports towards Indians who arrive with valid business visas, with many professionals ending up deported.

This assumes significance in the wake of Obama's impending visit to India. Whether this issue will come up for discussion remains to be seen.

Earlier this year, the US government had raised fee for H1-B and L1 visas, under which skilled workers get temporary work permit. The raise would hit the bottomline of the $50-billion Indian IT industry that sends many highly-skilled Indians to work there.

Indian IT sector earns more than half of its annual revenues from overseas markets, particularly the US.

The visa fee increase was followed by Ohio banning outsourcing of government IT projects, a step that further irked the Indian players. Both these moves coincide with a fragile recovery in the US economy, coupled with high unemployment levels.

Obama has also suggested in the past that tax breaks for companies outsourcing work overseas could be ended.

According to data available with Nasscom, top six Indian IT firms have created about 35,000 to 40,000 jobs in the US market alone.

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