Page 51 - IACC Newsletter November 2012 Issue no. 7

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Republicans will be more inclined to cut a deal with him to get the issue off the table for future elections. For Indian
businesses, however, any immigration deal could be a double-edged sword. There may be some increase in H-1B guest
worker quotas but that is likely to be coupled with more stringent rules," says Ron Hira, professor of public policy,
Rochester Institute of Technology.
There are major concerns over H-1B and L1 work permit visas too among Indian companies. Over the past year, it is
believed that refusal rates for work permit visas have gone up sharply, which hit Indian IT companies hard. Purnima
Voria, national adviser to the Obama administration, minority business development agency, United States department
of commerce, says, "This is the time to raise H-1B visa issues and to tackle them. The Indian American business
community is playing an important role in highlighting such issues with the US departments of commerce, immigration
and labour."
Immigration Laws on Hold
STEM Legislation
It has broad bipartisan support and is aimed at creating a new green card category for foreign students holding US
master's degree or PhD in science, technology, engineering or maths. The area of disagreement between Republicans
and Democrats is on whether to create 50,000 new immigrant visas or to reallocate from another category.
Elimination of Country-Specific Green Card Quotas
Also called the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act HR 3012, it will eliminate country-specific quotas in the
allocation of employment-based green cards. For Indians facing a huge green card backlog, with some even waiting for
over a decade to be granted permanent residence in the US, this will be a big advantage.
DREAM Act
This is a bipartisan legislation that will provide undocumented young people with a path to citizenship on completion of
college. While Obama signed an executive order preventing the deportation of undocumented immigrants under 30
who meet the requirements of the act, legislative action is yet to be taken on it.
US Working With India for Increased Defense Cooperation
US Defense Secretary, Mr. Leon Panetta
As the Obama Administration moves towards strategic re-balance in the Asia-Pacific region, the US today it was working
with India to develop increased defense co-operation. "We are working with India to develop increased defense
cooperation," US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters travelling with him on his 4
th
trip to the Asia Pacific
region.
Early this year during his trip to India, Panetta had entrusted one of his top officials to work on reducing bureaucratic
hurdles to increase India-US defense trade. "My deputy at the Defense Department is working very closely with India to
try to advance that progress," Panetta said.