H1B Visa hike demand: Indians take the case to US Congress

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H1B Visa
New Delhi, April 12: With a new vigour and confidence, Indian IT professional have taken their case on green card and H1B visa to the heart of American political establishment, and sought increase in visas and green cards.

Under the banner of North American Association of Indian IT Professional (NAIIP), a large number of professionals have met the lawmakers over the comprehensive immigration reforms in the new Immigration Bill.

Armed with figures that show that 30 percent of the companies started in the US in 2011 had immigrant founders, Indian IT professionals have explained to the US Congressmen working on new Immigration Bill, why it is important to increase the H1B quota. They also told the lawmakers to to make the process of issuing green cards, smooth and quick.

In monetary terms, the immigrant-based businesses have generated more than $775 billion in revenue for American economy, which is yet to recover from the slowdown.

The NAIIP has demanded that revalidation of H-1B visa be allowed to be done within the US. The NAIIP has also sought 60 day settlement period for laid off H1B workers before they are asked to leave the country. The current laid off period is zero days, as a result of which H1B employees are forced to leave the country on the same day of layoff. "We need to retain qualified IT professionals. 60 days settlement period will help employers as well as employees to complete formalities with ease or find another employment," it said.

Meanwhile, most Americans are supporting a pathway to citizenship for America's over 11 million immigrants with a shorter timeline than that contemplated by Congress, according to a new poll.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll on immigration laws also found that nearly two-thirds favour giving citizenship to those who came to the US illegally and now hold jobs.

Support jumped to 76 percent for a plan that required immigrants to pay fines, back taxes and pass a security check, among other measures, to gain citizenship.

The Senate plan would allow immigrants to apply for permanent legal residency, also known as a green card, only if border-security targets and other requirements have been met-a process expected to take about 10 years, the Journal said citing people familiar with it.

But the poll found strong support for a faster timeline, with 51 percent saying illegal immigrants with jobs should gain citizenship after five years.

An additional 18 percent backed immediate citizenship. Some 12 percent said citizenship should be granted after 10 years. Only 14 percent said those immigrants should never be eligible for citizenship.

The survey of 1,000 adults, taken April 5-8, was based on nationwide telephone interviews. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, the Journal said.

Broad agreement on immigration bill

Four Democratic and four Republican senators have reached agreement on all the major elements of sweeping legislation to remake the nation's immigration laws, and expect to unveil the bill next week.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says the bill probably will be rolled out on Tuesday.

The landmark legislation would overhaul legal immigration programs, crack down on employers, boost border security, and put 11 million immigrants in the US illegally on a path to citizenship.

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