Call for removal of per-country allotment cap

Technology firms in the US have called for removal of per-country quota in allotting ‘green cards’ for ‘highly-skilled’ IT professionals from India

Some 300 firms from the Silicon Valley and others parts of the US have argued that this cap is stifling innovation and “ideas are put on hold” as talented individuals wait for their green card or eventually go home to pursue their dreams free from bureaucratic delays.

Companies, including biggies such as AMD, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Symantec and Microsoft, have written to the US Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, asking it to support a piece of legislation that seeks to remove the per-country limit in allotting green cards.

“Under the current law, 1.40 lakh green cards are awarded annually to immigrants based on their job skills. But the total number of those green cards available to natives from any one country is capped at seven per cent,” the letter said.

The companies contended that the cap does not distinguish countries based on their merit and numbers. The same number of green cards is being given to people from India and China, which account for over 40 per cent of the world’s population, as to Greenland, which is home to 0.01 per cent of the global population.

Large nations

“Technology workers from large countries such as India and China who share equal qualifications with other high-skilled green card applicants wait two to three times longer to receive their permanent residence. By 2020, these valuable employees will wait an average of 20 years to get green cards,” they felt.

“Our teams develop the ideas and innovations that create jobs and drive economic growth. But too many talented tech employees are stuck in a professional limbo that limits that economic growth,” they said. The letter reminded the Senate’s sub-committee that the House had overwhelmingly supported legislation to phase out the per country limits. “We urge you to support this legislation to repeal the cap,” it said.

kurmanath@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 10, 2012)
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