In India, Anxiety Over Trump's Review Of H-1B Visas

US President Donald Trump

Industry body Nasscom on Thursday said New Zealand's move to tighten its work permit norms will not have any "tangible" impact on the Indian IT industry that gets less than 1 per cent revenue from that market. Australia is set to abolish the 457 visa programme used by companies to bring in temporary foreign workers.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay called it a "trade and services issue and not a matter relating to immigration".

Earlier on Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced he would be abolishing the existing 457 Visa programme, now used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment in the country.

The majority of the visa holders under the 457 category were from India, accounting nearly a quarter of the intake, followed by the United Kingdom and China at 19.5 percent and 5.8 percent respectively, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The order prods the Justice Department and other federal agencies to propose reforms to ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid foreign applicant. "We are essentially seeing that countries are trying to define skilled workers more precisely and bring curbs on immigration while opening the doors for high-skilled workers", Chandrashekhar pointed out.

He signed the order during a visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saying that H-1B visas should "never be used to replace Americans", adding that "we are about to take bold new steps to follow through on my pledge to buy American and hire American".

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The changes announced by the Government of Australia recently replace one scheme with another.

"Our initial assessment is that the move should not have a major impact on visas granted to Indian IT workers as the 457 visa category covered a lot of fields and was hard to manage", Nasscom said. "No new changes are being implemented immediately", said the National Association of Software Services and Companies (Nasscom) in a statement here.

Dutton said there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas and 76,430 secondary visa holders as at September 30 a year ago.

Turnbull said Australia will adopt a new "Australians first" approach to skilled migration.

The Indian information technology industry is grappling with popular protectionist sentiment and efforts to curb labour intake in almost all its major markets.

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