President Barack Obama’s immigration reforms unveiled Thursday in the United States bring little sunshine for those in India’s technology outsourcing industry who are waiting for him to boost the number of skilled-work visas or H-1Bs.
The president’s reform plan bypassed Congress to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
To be sure, the reform measures also contained minor benefits for businesses with workers from overseas. “We will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed,” said Mr. Obama in a prime-time address in the U.S.
But that means very little for India’s outsourcing firms that have long been lobbying to increase the number of H-1B visas so they can send more Indian programmers and engineers to their clients in the U.S.
Indian software exporters such as Tata Consultancy Services 532540.BY +0.35%, Infosys and Wipro send thousands of skilled Indian workers to the U.S. every year to cater to the technology needs of their clients.
The immigration reforms bill, introduced last year, sought to triple the number of H-1B visas available to 180,000 a year but was pulled after many lawmakers argued that the changes would result in an influx of illegal immigrants. It is still uncertain when the reform bill will be considered again.
As a result, industry and market watchers weren’t expecting the president to make any path-breaking changes to increase the number of skilled-worker visas issued annually. In fact, most of the changes announced are on expected lines.