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December 15, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:11pm


By CBR Staff Writer

India’s growing software industry is up in arms at what it sees as American double-standards over a proposed tightening of US immigration regulations to restrict entry for overseas programmers. An amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act will discourage the use of H-1B visas, which are used by Indian companies to send programmers to the US for onsite projects. The law change would force companies which employ more than 10% of workers on H-1B visas, to pay money into a fund to increase the competitiveness of US programmers. It would also cut the maximum time that H-1B visa employees can stay in the US from six years to three and pay them 5% more than equivalent US workers. Dewang Mehta, executive director of India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies, said: The cost advantage that India has in this area will be lost through these non-tariff trade barriers. India’s software industry relies on the US for $415m of its annual $1bn software exports and members are angry that the restrictions on entry into the US come at a time when the US is pressing India to remove import curbs so that US firms will have access to insurance, broadcasting and computer hardware markets.

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