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1/9/2012
04:37 PM
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U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India

India has been voicing concerns that visas for tech workers are becoming too hard to obtain. Now trade talks are postponed indefinitely.

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Talks between the U.S. and India on high-tech worker visas and other trade issues have been postponed indefinitely, U.S officials said Monday.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk had been scheduled to travel to New Delhi later this week to meet with Indian counterparts, including Commerce minister Anand Sharma, to discuss a range of bilateral issues. Among them was India's claim that rejection rates for applications by Indian IT professionals to work in the U.S. on H-1B or L-1 visas are rising.

Those talks, formally known as the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum, are now off indefinitely. Reports suggest the talks fell victim to American negotiators' belief that India would not yield on their number-one priority: Increased access for U.S. firms to India's roughly one billion consumers.

"While considerable progress on developing the agenda for the TPF has been made, in view of the amount of preparatory work that remains to be done, the United States and India have decided to postpone the TPF until later this year," the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement. "The additional time will allow us to further develop the TPF agenda and related activities."

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Indian officials have of late been voicing concerns that it's becoming more difficult for skilled IT workers from their country to obtain work authorization in the U.S.

"Uptake of H-1B visas this year is less than half of the annual prescribed limit and the rejection rates have gone up," said Sharma at an economic forum in Washington, D.C., in October. The annual H-1B cap, which stands at 65,000 for overseas workers, has since been reached.

Experience with U.S. companies not only benefits individual Indian workers, it helps fuel the growth of India's domestic IT market as those returning home facilitate the transfer of key tech and business skills to indigenous firms. U.S. proponents of a more-open immigration system, including New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, have argued that the H-1B program also benefits the U.S. economy by adding to the pool of skilled workers.

Not everyone is in favor of looser immigration rules for tech workers. Groups that represent American IT workers, such as WashTec and Alliance At IBM, have noted that a number of tech companies, including Microsoft and IBM, have laid off thousands of U.S.-born employees in the past several years even as they have brought in H-1B workers from India, China, and other offshore locations.

Critics also point to a recent study by the General Accountability Office that found that 54% of H-1B visa recipients were entry-level-caliber workers, even though the program was originally designed for highly skilled professionals.

In addition to IT worker visas, a number of other tech-related issues were to have been on the talks' agenda, including intellectual property protection on the subcontinent. U.S. computer giants such as Microsoft have complained that Indian authorities turn a blind eye to the piracy of commercial software products such as Windows. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has in the past claimed that 70% of all software in India is pirated.

U.S. trade reps did not set a specific date for the resumption of talks with India.

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mrdore
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mrdore,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/1/2012 | 12:34:38 AM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
As long as there are unemployed american IT workers. there should be NO H1 Visas.. Like I care about India's economy. As far as the "global market" goes.. India just made the decision to give their largest ever military purchase in excess of 10B$ to .. guess who.. ? NOT THE USA!! Companies like IBM, HP and other tech giants need to get a grip and have their tax benefits removed and take the incentive out of hiring foreign labor..
JimC
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JimC,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/28/2012 | 1:10:12 PM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
rlawson346: You ignored the very first sentence I wrote following the quote. Entry level workers, in my view, are average-talent workers until they prove they're exceptionally good. Graduating at the top of their class in Computer Science and pursuing an advanced degree while working is one way to do it. Being the cheapest "warm body" that a low-bidder employer can stick in a cubicle to write so-so code, absolutely isn't. SAP's Chief Technical Officer, Vishal Sikka, is exactly the type of "foreigner" any company should want. Based on the work he did on HANA, SAP's in-memory database, that guy is worth his weight in gold to his employer and its shareholders. JC4905/JimC
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2012 | 1:24:40 AM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
Obviously 14 years of immigration have not been good for the country.
bdilbert980
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bdilbert980,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 6:14:31 AM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
Sadly, the leverage is corporate greed, legislative fraud. Thanks to Bill Gates and convicted felon Jack Abramoff, the US Congress passed US laws that legalize employment discrimination against US citizens. Shockingly it is 100% legal for companies to bypass US citizens and exclusively hire offshore for US jobs.
John80224
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John80224,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 5:45:18 AM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
@cxf "The reactions of people"? If you read most "studies" (by all the America-something-named "think" tanks) there is no such thing. Didn't you know that the politicians have been talking to companies? Companies know what's good for the country--not these so called "people" things you allude to. What will those silly things think of next--NOT rolling back the lessons of the industruial revolution and civil rights. That's just crazy!

(I'll now remove my tongue from having been in cheek)
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 10:15:54 PM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
India has an attitude of "You owe us - because of Britain's colonization of India 200 years. Ago. Every Indian believes and is taught in schools as a child that they are poor because the evil westerners robbed them. Hence they feel ENTITLED to automatically get visas to come here and work (and in the process extract as much wealth from us as they can). Not only that but most of these people hate white westerners so much that when to do come to the US they just can't help but deliberately keep white Americans out of IT jobs. On top of that they can't really do the jobs and all our companies go down the tubes. No, USA does not need more job beggars coming here on visas and destroying our economy and exporting our wealth. We've already been doing that for 14 years and look what it has done to our economy. We were booming in 1998 before we opened the floodgates to these people. Kudos to Kirk for walking out on Bad Karma Sharma and saying NO. Game over India, you've ravaged our economy enough.
cxf
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cxf,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 4:44:46 PM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
The US trade deficit now stands at $13,000,000,000 with Inda. That's 13 Billion - the largest trade deficit ever in our trading history. EVER. And I'm sure that's not because India is exporting beautiful cars and trucks, or medical equipment to the US. Look, Ron Kirk is a smart man and until this imbalance starts to shift he should limit India's access to the American IT market. H1-Bs are evidence now of bad trade policies - the numbers prove it, the reactions of people prove it.

I would look India straight in the eye and tell them to focus inward on the development of their own industries and open up their markets like good trading partners should. Until then, the numbers should be telling Ron Kirk that the US isn't benefiting from this trading relationship. Our economy doensn't need another cheap entry level coder.
jleone940
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jleone940,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 3:30:56 PM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
India has hefty import duties on consumer goods. Take a look for yourself at this chart where Indian import duties are compared with the U.S. and Canada. http://daniel-workman.suite101...

India with import duties averaging of 31%, it is clear that India has no intention of allowing U.S. companies to compete equally or even have a chance to compete.

If India wants free trade, they can start by practicing free trade. As long as we continue to appease countries that do not practice free trade we will continue to be shut out of their markets.

Appeasement does not work.
hoapres
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hoapres,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 2:38:24 AM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
IT is pretty much done in the US. Young Americans are abandoning IT because of the poor job prospects with companies bringing in H1Bs to replace Americans.

It is unfortuate but perhaps the best thing might be to OFFSHORE ALL OF IT.

We can then abandon the myth the shortage myth along with importing even more foreign labor.

IT is pretty much done for American workers and it is only a choice of importing H1Bs taking American jobs in the US versus having the jobs shipped out of the US. In both scenarios the American does not get the job.

CaptainBullfrog
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CaptainBullfrog,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 12:12:59 AM
re: U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India
I can't speak accurately to other professions. Coming from the IT industry and being in this field for 20+ years, Indians are by far the greatest number of foreign workers. There are far too many of them.
As the story goes, they came to help us for the Y2K window - they started showing up around 1998 or so. They were to help - as companies needed some extra assistance to review applications and make code fixes etc. Somewhere along the line, the story changed. India built an IT temp worker industry around exploiting the H1B visa, and now there is a sense of entitlement to the share of the American IT market. Supporting evidence is the resistance and complaints to changes and modification to the visa program i.e increased fees. Running parallel to this, the temp workers began to regard themselves as 'immigrants' - when in reality, the H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. More on this later.

As American corporations recognized the value in cheaper labor and easy to dismiss workers that they didn't have to provide benefits for, the indian bodyshops became successful and regarded this as a legitimate business model. In support, they began working the resumes, honest or not, to appeal to HR departments and fraudulent resumes became accepted practice. Bear in mind, here in the US as a citizen, you get fired if they find you lied on your resume.

Resistance from the veteran IT workers that built the industry from the ground up started to grow.

Recognizing that their business model was at risk and evidence began to mount surrounding the fraudulent practices, nepotism and corruption, the indian bodyshops began a propaganda campaign through NASSCOM. The program is designed to protect their model by claiming worker shortages, brain drain, inferior American skillsets and recently, the dire potential of these workers going home and the US will lose out on innovation. There are claims of globalization, and the world is flat and free trade... the spin goes on and on.

The temp workers organize and conspire to find ways to extend their stay in the US as 'immigrants' although it was known that there were no guarantees to citizenship when they set foot in this country - in such groups as immigration voice. They coordinate, as non-citizens, to lobby our politicians to pass bills to further their agenda to enable them to stay. This is where the term 'immigrant' ties to the alarming theory of potential innovation loss. There is an O-1 visa for truly gifted indviduals, and the H1B visa recipients are chosen by lottery. Referencing the number of H1B visas available every year, one has to question the true skillsets of so many people waiting to be chosen from the lottery.

With unemployment rates so high in the US, there is no reason to continue to utilize foreign temp workers. There isn't a shortage of workers, just a lack of willingness to pay Americans a fair wage to support their cost of living.
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