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Indians account for 93% of H4 visas in US: Jaishankar


Indians today account for 93 per cent of the total number of visas under H4 visa category, which is meant work permit for the spouses, in the US, said External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The member KJ Alphons has asked the Chair whether there has been a move by the US government to prevent spouses of H-1B visa holders from working, which affects something like half-a-million spouses.

To this, Jaishankar said that the ability of spouses to work was introduced in 2015 and this category of visa is called H4 visa and interestingly Indians today account for 93 per cent of the total number of visas issued in this category.

“There was some controversy whether this programme would be continued but right now, the programme is continued. There is a court order to the effect that it should be continued but the Trump Administration has indicated that it may review it at some point of time,” Jaishankar said.

In the House, the Congress member Syed Nasir Hussain asked whether US government has disqualified seven Indian IT companies from applying for H-1B visas?

The External Affair Minister said there is no such thing. With regard to the seven major Indian employers, there is no disqualification on any of them, he said.

Jaishankar explained that the number of visas for which they have applied to has come down in the last few years. “Denial rates have also gone up. But, denial rates have not gone up only for the Indian companies; denial rates have gone up for all companies,” he explained.

So, as far as these seven companies are concerned, even last year, they got 3,828 new visas, and 15,230 renewal of H-1B visas.

Replying to Swapan Dasgupta on what is the position which India normally takes with regard to work visas and emigration of Indians to overseas for work purposes, the minister said that India is constantly in touch with the US system, the US government and Members of the Congress to persuade them and to convince them that tapping into the Indian talent pool is to mutual benefit.

“In that, I think, we have been successful in large measure. Actually, if you look at the numbers, the number of H-1B visas has been going up in the last few years and the total rejection rate has been coming down,” he said.

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Sushma Swaraj takes up H1B visas with US

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took up the issues of H1B visas and the rights of illegal immigrant children when she met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday morning.

Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet that Sushma Swaraj “strongly raised the issue of H1B visa and children falling under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy with Secretary Tillerson”.

He also said the two of them “discussed regional issues, with a focus of Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism” and “reviewed all aspects all the bilateral relationship, including expanding our trade and investment relations.”

A State Department statement said that they “looked forward to convening a 2+2 dialogue” with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Defence Secretary James Mattis in the near future.

The statement said that Tillerson thanked Sushma Swaraj “for India’s contributions to stability and development in Afghanistan and the region”.

In speech on new Afghanistan policy last month, US President Donald Trump had said a “critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India”.

He also asked for more help from India in Afghanistan, where he was recalibrating US policy.

Another topic that came up in their discussions between Sushma Swaraj and Tillerson was the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which the two countries are to co-host in Hyderabad, in November, the State Department said.

Trump’s daughter and his official adviser, Ivanka, who is to lead the US delegation to the summit also met Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday.

This was the first one-on-one meeting between the top diplomats of the two countries since Tillerson, a former head of the oil giant Exxon Mobil, became Secretary of State.

On Monday both of them had participated in a trilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

It was not clear what Sushma Swaraj wanted done about the H1B, a category of temporary visas for professionally qualified people, as there has as yet been no changes to that visa system.A

While Trump has spoken of restricting the H1B visa system as part of his policy of putting Americans first, so far there have been no changes to it and for this year the same levels of 65,000 for general H1B visas and 20,000 for those with advanced US degrees have been kept.

Indians get most of the H1B visas, although it does not have any national quotas or is specifically designed for Indians.

According to some estimates, about 7,000 Indians are covered by DACA, a presidential order issued by then President Barack Obama to allow those who were brought in illegally as children to stay on in the US.

Trump had said that he was not going to renew the DACA order, which will expire next March, and wanted Congress to legislate it into law.

He has since said that he may reconsider it if Congress had not passed the law by then.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Chandrababu impresses Silicon valley elites

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. N Chandrababu Naidu as a part of his visit to the United states of America met top executives of the world’s largest technology companies and requested investments from them. It may be recalled that Mr. Naidu’s delegation met chief operating officer (COO) of Apple Inc. Mr. Jeff Williams and invited the firm to invest in Andhra Pradesh and establish a manufacturing facility in the state.

In a first-hand experience narrated by Mr.Venktesh Shukla, the Chief Minister’s meeting which was supposed to last for not more than 15minutes with the COO was extended to more than an hour. Mr.Shukla who drove with the CM from the airport to Apple HQ briefed him about the points the TDP President could make to the Apple management. Terming Mr.Naidu as “engaging speaker” and “forceful champion” Shukla said, “He(Naidu) spoke with conviction about his vision for the state and his track record in delivering big results”. Mr.Williams was well impressed by Mr.Naidu’s charisma apparent in the body language and the time, but Mr.Shukla himself was enthralled seeing the CM’s passion in articulating the points he suggested.

Sharing a similar incident way back from 90’s, Deepak Bhagat said, “My co-leader Mark had remarked that he felt like a Lion(Chandrababu) had entered the conference room. He had so much of energy coming out of him even before he spoke his first word”. Naidu had hosted Bhagat and his then Sun team in Hyderabad and evidently was one of the best CM they have met.

This incident only adds to the credibility of Mr. Naidu and highlights why he was chosen as the ‘Transformative Chief Minister Award’ at the United States-India Business Council (USIBC) West Coast Summit in Silicon Valley.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Visa troubles – upsurge in ‘foreign returned techies’

Telugu360 was in conversation with a co-founder of a Hyderabad startup who in a candid conversation mentioned – “At least, two people have told me that they left their job in the US – one to join family business and other to start their own business. I emphasize on today. Since Trump came in the number has been going up. I know a lot of them who already left and there are people who are contemplating to return home”

This is going to be the case with most of the Indians, who will now know at least one ‘foreign returned techie’. It is apparent that the Indians in the US have accepted the Trump change and are looking to come back home. As each month is passing by the number of Indians searching for jobs in India is snowballing. As per the analysis of one of the Big four companies, 600 Indians were looking to return home in December and by March the number hit 7000.

A workable option for companies to not only retain the Indian workers but also address the shortage of workers in US is through global in-house centers (GICs). The idea for GICs was to maintain low cost but now they can turn into a facility for talent.

POTUS Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to look at tightening the H1B visa programme used to bring high-skilled foreign workers to the country, as he tries to carry out his campaign pledges to put “America First”. On similar lines Australia abolished the 457 visa programme used majorly by Indians, in the national interest to put Australians and Australian jobs first. The rising nationalism is going to cost India intensely.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Indian students will continue to be in demand in the US

Indian students will continue to be in demand in the United States as they have been gaining advanced knowledge and technical skills, experts feel.

They believe that that the Trump administration’s proposed bar on H1B visas will have no impact on Indian students as reforms are driven by the industry’s need for advanced knowledge and skills.

“As Indian students have been gaining advanced knowledge and technical skills beyond their bachelor’s degree, through work experience and advanced degrees such as graduate coursework, they will continue to be in demand,” Patrick Phelan, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University (ASU), told IANS.

Holly Singh, Senior Director of International Students & Scholars Center at the ASU, didn’t agree with the view in some sections that the US is no longer an attractive destination for Indian students and pointed out that the country is still the leader in innovation.

A team from the Fulton Schools of Engineering visited India this month to recruit a new batch of international students

ASU’s International Students and Scholars Center provides support to transition from graduation to Optional Practical Training (OPT) and an H1B visa. “This unit has trained staff and counselors who support students in obtaining their OPT. The Fulton Schools of Engineering through its Career Services also holds two career fairs each year,” said Singh.

“ASU is number one in innovation two years in a row now. This is because of our focus on providing all of its students with opportunities to succeed in becoming master learners,” said Patrick, who is also a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

According to statistics, India had the highest number of enrolments at ASU in the engineering master’s programme at 54.6 per cent. For the second year in a row, the largest growth was in the number of students from India, primarily at the graduate level and in OPT.

“Indian graduate students form not only the largest cohort of our master’s students, but also play a vital role in ASU’s engineering research programs at the master’s and PhD levels,” said Tirupalavanam G. Ganesh, Assistant Dean of Engineering Education and Associate Research Professor of Engineering Education in the Fulton Schools of Engineering.

The number of international students awarded with graduate degrees in engineering increased from just over 300 in academic year 2010-11 to over 1,000 in 2015-16. Over this same time, overall enrollment in Fulton Schools of Engineering grew from over 7,000 to about 20,000.

ASU is home to over 10,000 students from 135 countries and has recorded for its fall session, over 2,000 enrolments from India, alone, while the Fulton Schools have over 1,000 students from India.

ASU offers students the opportunity to be a part over 45 engineering student organisations and student professional societies giving them leadership opportunities and hands-on experience.

The engineering students at ASU have an opportunity to begin their entrepreneurship journey from the moment they start their course, with programmes like the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, which awards students with $20,000 in seed funding and office space, or the Innovation Challenge competition which provide places for students to learn more about start-ups, said Ganesh.

The number of foreign students in the US topped 1 million for the first time in 2016. According to the Institute of International Education, engineering as a field of study bought in 216,932 students — 20.8 percent of the international student population.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

World Bank Assistance to Make AP Cyclone-Proof


World Bank approved a US $250 million credit for Andhra Pradesh to increase the state’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to emergency situations such as assault of cyclones like Hudhud. The assistance, extended to Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project will  be used to restore, improve and enhance the resilience of public services and livelihoods of communities affected by the Hudhud last October. This project will benefit about 13 million people in the four severely cyclone-prone districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari.

World Bank said Andhra Pradesh is one of the most natural hazard prone states in India because of its long coastline and geographical location. About 44 per cent the state is vulnerable to tropical storms and related hazards.


Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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