India concerned about US H-1B visa rejection rates

India's commerce minister told his US counterpart this week that he is concerned about the rising rejection rates for applications made by Indian tech workers to obtain H-1B visas in the US.

Commerce and Industry minister Anand Sharma explained that he had "a frank discussion" with US Commerce secretary John Bryson during talks in New Delhi. Sharma said that he was concerned by the fact that rejection rates for H-1B and L-1 applicants' visa applications have increased over the past few years.

"There have been concerns over the high rate of rejections," said Sharma. "We had a very frank discussion, including some of the issues on which the US has concerns."

Immigration advocates claim the US needs to import more foreign high-tech workers to help deal with the shortage of US high-tech workers. Both US and Indian companies agree that it is getting increasingly difficult to import tech workers to the US.

"It's clear that if American and Indian businesses work together, we can build India's infrastructure in a way that bring inclusive growth, greater prosperity, and job creation in both countries," said Bryson.

A recent study by The Partnership for a New American Economy found that 18 percent of the companies on the 2010 Fortune 500 list were founded by immigrants.

Traditionally, Indian companies have been the biggest users of the US H-1B visa, with the larger companies applying for thousands of visas a year. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa used to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the H-1B visa a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years.

USCIS will begin accepting fiscal year 2013 H-1B visa applications on Monday 2 April 2012 for employment with a start date of 1 October 2012 or later.

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