Technology graduates in India have welcomed a US government proposal to double the number of H1-B visas for skilled immigrants.
The proposal, if passed by Congress, would also remove the current cap on green card applications, opening the way for a dramatic increase in the number of highly skilled foreign workers allowed into the US and granted permanent legal status.
The news has been hailed by Indian techies – who make up a third of all H1-B visa holders – as well as companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft who have long complained of the difficulties in finding qualified workers in the United States.
“The agreement would be a major victory for the tech industry, which has backed an intense lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill in recent months arguing that Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other companies are having trouble finding qualified workers because of visa limits,” the Washington Post said.
“The number of visas available would approximately double from the current limit of 65,000 per year,” the newspaper added.
The H1B programme was created in 1990 to attract high-skilled workers from around the world, but has been criticized for allowing firms to recruit lower-paid employees from overseas. it has become a way for outsourcing firms to bring lower-paid employees to the United States.