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Nasscom, US in talks over visa issue

The variations in visa norms ( B-1, H1-B, L1, H1 and H4) and their rigidity has prompted Nasscom to give to the US embassy a few guidelines that can be used as filters for the visa application processes for all the Indian IT firms.

Ayan Pramanik | June 24, 2011 | Updated 12:53 IST

The Indian IT industry is in talks with the US over the use of visas by software service providers, Som Mittal, the president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies ( Nasscom) said on Thursday.

"We are in dialogue with the US embassy in New Delhi to solve the problems arising out of the interpretation of visas used by our IT companies providing globalised services in North America and Europe," said Mittal at an IT event.

Read: US visa fraud heat may scald Infosys

"We find the interpretation of the same visa category in the US consulates is very different from that at the port of entry. What was acceptable yesterday and day before or last year is being questioned now," Mittal said.

The variations in visa norms ( B- 1, H1- B, L1, H1 and H4) and their rigidity has prompted Nasscom to give to the US embassy a few guidelines that can be used as filters for the visa application processes for all the Indian IT firms. The US embassy has accepted that the (IT) business is complex and it is essential to identify what category of visas is going to be used for which area, said the Nasscom president.

More: More changes in store at Infosys?

The US embassy has formed a council that includes Nasscom members to deal with the visa issues in the wake of allegations against Indian IT firms over violation of visa rules, he added.

However, Mittal declined to comment about the recent case of alleged B-1 visa misuse by Infosys as the probe is on and the case is in court.

"We neither have all the documents nor a sitting judge here. The company (Infosys) is trying to present all the facts they can and let's wait," said Mittal.

The US government had modified visa rules to allow intra-company transfers of highly-skilled people just as in Britain, which has a very progressive visa policy, as such transfers are important to protect the economy and businesses. If there is one visa category where there is no cap, it is the intra-transfers, Mittal said.

In May, Mittal had pointed out that there is a need for immigration policies to be reformed in view of the growing unemployment in the US. He had also said that the US, the UK and all other foreign countries will have to have access to the talent pool. "We are living in a state of uncertainty. Unemployment in the US and macro economic problems are still reasons to worry," he said.

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