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India has issues with US too

world Updated: Jul 16, 2012 12:17 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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If India needs to do more on economic reforms, New Delhi would want to see the US ease restrictions on professional visas and scale down rhetoric against outsourcing.

A recent study of US immigration service data showed India hit the hardest by an overall increase in rejection/denial of visas to professionals under L-1B and H-1B categories.

The decline, showed the study by the National Foundation for American Policy, started with Obama taking charge at the White House in early 2009.

Till 2008, the year before Obama took office, L-1B rejection for India -- 2.8% -- was similar to those of other high yield countries such as China, Japan and Germany.

Rejection rates for Indians shot up the next year -- in 2009, the first year or Obama's presidency -- eight-fold to 22.5% from 2.8% the previous year, the study showed.

Denials went up for most other countries also, but stayed within a range of 4.1% to 5.9%. India was up there at the top, with Mexico for company.

"Data indicate much of the increase in denials involves Indian-born professionals and researchers,? said the national foundation's study released in Febrduay.

The US maintains that India remains the largest beneficiary of visas under the two categories, but that has not mollified either the industry or the government.

A senior commerce ministry official said earlier India was contemplating taking the issue to the World Trade Organisation. It hasn't done that yet though.

The $70 billion-offshoring industry in India has also watched with rising alarm this administration's stand against outsourcing with tax incentives for companies bringing back jobs.

It is a now a raging campaign issue too with the Obama campaign accusing the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney of being a "pioneer of outsourcing? .

The reference is to Romney's tenure at the head of the private equity from Bain Capital. His campaigns arguing the offshoring happened after Romney had left the company.