Nasscom has been working with EU for flexible work permits

Describing U.S. “protectionist” moves as a “disturbing trend”, apex IT industry body National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) on Wednesday said it hoped that America would make more investments to create jobs, instead of taking such “regressive” actions.

“I hope the U.S. makes more positive investments to create jobs and to become competitive, rather than taking any regressive action which seems negative and will lead to protectionist measures around the world,” Nasscom President Som Mittal said.

The State of Ohio in the U.S. recently banned outsourcing by government departments to offshore locations like India.

The move came shortly after the U.S. enacted a controversial legislation that proposed to strengthen security along its border with Mexico by increasing H-1B and L1 visa fees, which are highly sought after by Indian IT professionals.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Nasscom Infrastructure Management Services Summit 2010 here, Mr. Mittal said the industry expected to hear more noise on the issue in view of the forthcoming elections to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, but “we do not know in what form or shape it would be.” It was also not necessary that it would all be targeted at India, he added.

On the issue of flexible work permits and single visas for European Union countries, which the Indian IT industry has been clamouring for, he said Nasscom had been working with the EU for last two years. It has produced a white paper, which has been accepted, he said.

He said this would be a “win-win situation not only for Indian service providers, but for everyone”. At present, one has to apply to individual EU countries separately for a visa.

If a single visa was allowed, it could simplify things and reduce costs, not only in terms of application and processing fees, but also in travel planning and efficient use of people.

Such a move might take a year's time given the fact that all the EU countries had to agree to it, he added.

On whether there is any opposition to the move, he said there were concerns, but was confident that the hurdles would be cleared.

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