India`s Commerce and Industry minister Anand Sharma has stated that the US makes it difficult for professionals from India to enter the US to work under L-1 and H-1B visas. Sharma has also stated that he is concerned that the number of rejections for Indian professionals applying for US visas seems to be on the rise.
During talks with US Commerce secretary John Bryson, Sharma said that he is concerned about the fact that statistics show that rejection rates for H-1B and L-1 petitions have increased by 28% in recent years. He did not give a source for the statistic. Bryson was in the country to discuss access to India`s industrial market for US manufacturers. While reports indicate that the talks went well, the immigration issue may be a hot-button topic for the two countries.
In the US and in India, some experts note that the US needs IT and other tech professionals because there are not enough US works with cloud computing skills, mobility-related skills and other important skills. On both sides of the world, professionals and employers note that it is getting harder to arrange visas to get tech professionals into the US.
However, there is disagreement about what to do. Some allege that making it easier for immigrants with skills to enter the US would strengthen the US economy and make the US more competitive. They note that many Fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants and that many inventions have been created by non-US workers. Others claim that any laxer immigration laws would make it harder for US tech workers to find jobs. They note that in the current economy the focus should be on helping US workers find work.
The USCIS has considered changing new policy guidelines for L-1B visas, possibly changing the category for what would make an applicant considered to have L-1B specialized skills and knowledge. It is expected that new guidelines may be issued soon. The USCIS has already been seeking input from a number of sources about the issue. Some experts have suggested that expanding what it considered L-1B specialized knowledge would make it easier for professional immigrants to work in the US, which would boost the US economy. Others have argued that the move would make it possible for foreign workers without exceptional skills to work in the US at a time when there are many unemployed US tech workers.