US needs more foreign workers for highly technical jobs: Indian trade leader

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Washington, Oct 1(ANI): Amidst proposals in the US Congress to limit visas for foreign high-tech workers, U.S. technology giants have said that the country needs more foreign workers to tackle highly technical jobs.

Senator from Illinois Richard J. Durbin and Senator from Iowa Charles E. Grassley have proposed a legislation that would prevent any large company from hiring more foreign high-tech workers if more than half its work force already consists of visa-holding foreigners.

Commenting on the issue, Som Mittal, President of India's National Association of Software and Service Cos., said that he was concerned about the legislation sharply restricting the hiring of foreign workers by domestic and overseas companies operating in the United States.

Mittal also said that such a decision to restrict foreign high-tech workers would only harm the U.S. economy rather than help it.

"It's a business killer for us. Sixty percent of all technology Ph.D.s are foreign nationals. The visa requirement could be detrimental to the U.S. economy. You do want to retain the best and brightest," The Washington Times quoted Mittal, as saying.

He further said that there are not enough Americans to fill the high-tech jobs and claimed that despite all the efforts there was a shortage skilled workers last year.

Companies are currently allowed to hire a limited number of skilled foreign workers through the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, however, critics claim that these programs deny job opportunities to American workers.

Grassley highlights that proposed legislation would help prevent abuse of the H-1B visa program, and said: "With unemployment at rates higher than we have seen in some time, there is no shortage of Americans pounding the pavement looking for jobs."

"Theres no question the H-1B program is important and necessary at times for some employers, but it was never meant to replace qualified American workers," he added. (ANI)

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