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India third on US immigrant waiting list

Posted on January 30, 2012
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For the Obama administration, India can wait, literally.

According to the fiscal 2012 data released by the US Department of State, India forms about eight% of the overall immigrant waiting list, with about 3.43 lakh Indians waiting to find their way to the country of their dreams. India is at the third position, preceded by Mexico and Philippines, at number one and two respectively. The two countries account for about 40% of the overall immigrant waiting list.

Access denial is most common when it comes to the employment preferences category where India accounts for about 21% in the waiting list. About 26,000 professionals are still in queue.

Ironically, Pakistan, in spite of its troubled relations with the US, accounts for just about 3% of the overall immigration waiting list. Bangladesh, too, fares better than India and accounts for just over 3.5% of the waiting list.

According to AT Kearney Global Services Location Index 2011, India topped the list of countries as an outsourcing destination followed by Mexico at the sixth rank and Philippines at ninth rank. Pakistan stood at 28th rank.

“Immigration is a very sensitive issue during the US elections. The US unemployment rate is at 9% . India stands out in terms of the number of visas granted over the last decade,” explains Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO at the Mumbai-based The Head Hunters India, an HR practices consulting firm.

“It is all due to the economic slowdown and political instability. Countries all over world are becoming less ‘global’. India is viewed as one of the biggest competitors as far as IT jobs are concerned, “says Ambarish Raghuvanshi CFO at
Raghuvanshi links the decline in visas to the economic crisis faced by India, too. “When a company does outsourcing for a US client, it does both onshore and offshore servicing. The number of visas and the cost attached to it also has a role to play in the decline in number of visas issued,” he adds.

Nasscom, however, is optimistic. “This is all because of decline in L-1 visa. It is too early to comment on whether this will have an impact on the US hiring Indians,” says Ameet Nivsarkar, vice president, Global Trade Development, Nasscom.

Siddharth Tak & Ankita Chakrabarty

29 Jan 2012

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