Washington: Nearly 100,000 skilled Indian workers’ prospects of living the American dream may turn sour with the Congress barring firms that received bailout money from hiring foreigners through HI-B visa programme if they replace US citizens.
Estimates suggest that there are 100,000 Indian nationals among the 163,000 from across the world that had applied for the skilled worker visa in FY2009.
The US has capped the H1-B visa at 65,000 a year, out of which 40,000-45,000 generally goes to Indian professionals, mostly from the IT industry.
Restricting hiring of H1-B visa holders forms part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, widely known as the stimulus bill, that was passed by the Congress yesterday.
With thousands of jobs being cut by US companies almost daily over the past few months, there have been widespread apprehensions that these positions could go to low-cost foreign workers or might be outsourced to places like India.
The government data for 2008 shows that about 5.7 lakh Indians were issued H1-B and other non-immigrant visas.
The bar comes even as IT firms in the US and India are demanding an increase in the H1-B visa cap, which was cut from 195,000 to the present level two years ago. Indians then accounted for over 100,000 H1-B visas.