Even as President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he would reform the L-1B visa regime that allows global companies to temporarily shift their workers to the US, a study released last week finds that Indians faced the maximum rejections under this category.
"The denial rate for L-1B petitions to transfer employees of Indian origin is a remarkable 56 percent for 2012 through 2014, compared to an average denial rate of 13 percent to transfer employees from all other countries during the period," says the study by a US think tank.
"Only 4 percent of Canadian nationals were denied L-1B petitions, compared to 56 percent of Indian nationals, between 2012 and 2014," says the study by the National Foundation for American Society, non-profit public policy research organization on trade and immigration issues.
Indian nationals, the study says, had filed the most number of petitions under the L-1B regime at 25,296 petitions, followed by Canadians with 10,692 petitions. The denial rate was 16 percent for for Britishers for 2,577 petitions, and 22 percent for Chinese for 1,570 petitions.
"The data reveal the problem with denials centers primarily on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services denying petitions for employees being transferred into the United States from India. The numbers are stark," says the study.
"Examining the top eight countries of origin for L-1B petitions reveals no other country had even half the denial rate of employees from India," it said, even as data also revealed that Indians secured approvals for 11,192 petitions.
Nevertheless, President Obama declared Tuesday that "America is proudly open for business", while assuring that the L-1B visa category will be reformed to allow global corporations to temporarily move workers to the US in a faster, simpler way.
"This could benefit hundreds of thousands of non-immigrant workers and their employers. That, in turn, will benefit our entire economy and spur additional investment," he said during an address to the the second SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington.
"So the bottom line is this: America is proudly open for business, and we want to make it as simple and as attractive for you to set up shop here as is possible," said Obama. "That is what this summit is all about."
Reacting to the announcement, Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar said the guidance on the reform of the l-1B regime was still not available, the statement of intent from Obama made it clear that he felt the move will strengthen investments into the US.
"We expect the guidance to be positive and a step in the right direction. But unless we see the actual guidance, which we expect around the end of this week, it will be diccicult to respond to any of the specifics," Chandrasekhar said in a TV interview.