In­dian IT may get a RAISE with this Pol­icy

Trump backs bill propos­ing merit-based sys­tem, which favours English-speak­ing skilled work­ers

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Surabhi.Agar­wal@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Af­ter a se­ries of bad news for the em­ploy­ees of the $150-bil­lion In­dian soft­ware ser­vices in­dus­try, im­mi­gra­tion ex­perts are say­ing that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sup­port to the leg­is­la­tion propos­ing mov­ing to a “merit-based” sys­tem, favour­ing English-speak­ing skilled work­ers, for res­i­dency cards will ben­e­fit In­dia.

The leg­is­la­tion, ti­tled the Re­form­ing Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion for Strong Em­ploy­ment (RAISE), would cut in half the num­ber le­gal im­mi­grants al­lowed into the US, if passed by the Congress and signed into law.

Ex­perts said that most In­di­ans are English­s­peak­ing and many have a Master’s de­gree, in­creas­ing their chances of get­ting a green card. “You can say that there is a ray of hope… This is a sil­ver-lin­ing to the hor­ri­ble black cloud of the pro­posed RAISE Act,” said Poorvi Chothani, man­ag­ing part­ner at LawQuest, an im­mi­gra­tion law firm with of­fices in the US and In­dia. The RAISE Act, when passed, would re­place the cur­rent lot­tery sys­tem in the US and in­stead in­sti­tute a points-based sys­tem for earn­ing a green card. Factors such as English-lan­guage skills, ed­u­ca­tion, high-pay­ing job of­fers and age would be taken into ac­count while con­sid­er­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

There are scores of In­di­ans who go to the US on work visas and later ap­ply for the green card but the cum­ber­some process may ease a lit­tle now. A re­cent study by Pew Re­search said that there is a lengthy12-year wait­ing pe­riod for In­di­ans ap­ply­ing for per­ma­nent res­i­dency or the green card in the US.

In 2015, about 36,318 In­di­ans ad­justed their sta­tus to per­ma­nent res­i­dency while 27,798 In­di­ans are new ar­rivals who re­ceived law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dency in the form of a green card, Pew Re­search said.

In­dia is also among the top coun­tries whose res­i­dents get green cards ev­ery year and the re­port said that from fis­cal 2010 to 2014, about 36% of em­ploy­ment-re­lated green cards – over 2,22,000 - were granted to H-1B visa hold­ers. Sangeeta Gupta, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of Nass­com said that this leg­is­la­tion deals with the per­ma­nent res­i­dency. “Lots of In­di­ans are in the queue for it, any­thing that helps stream­line the process is wel­come. But it also cut downs the over­all num­bers by half so how it pans out has to be seen.” Shiven­dra Singh, Nass­com’s vice-pres­i­dent for global trade added that this bill deals doesn’t deal with non-im­mi­grant visa and there­fore doesn’t have di­rect im­pli­ca­tions on the in­dus­try. “We will have to see how it goes since it is still a bill and a lot goes into a bill be­fore be­com­ing a law.”

DONALDTRUMP US Pres­i­dent The RAISE Act will re­duce poverty, in­crease wages, and save tax­pay­ers bil­lions and bil­lions of dol­lars

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