US President Obama's immigration plan disappoints Indian techies

According to analysts and experts, President Barack Obama's immigration plan to shield 5 million people from deportation and retain skilled immigrants, falls short of expectations. An important announcement by the President concerns thousands of Indians who are in America waiting in long green card queues and their families. According to the new guidelines, portable work authorisation will now be provided to lawful permanent resident status or green cards – and their spouses. Under the current system employees with approved LPR applications often have to wait many years on non-immigrant visas for their green cards to become available. The department of homeland security will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily. Meanwhile news may not be good on the L-1 visa or intra-company transfer front, with steps proposed to streamline the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. Commenting on the plan The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said the plan will have moderate benefits for the technology industry, as Obama agreed to increase the number of foreign graduates of American Universities with science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM – degrees' stay in the US to ease employment pressures and enable qualified students to stay in the country. CFR pointed out the plan does not address industry hopes of keeping these individuals here on a long-term basis as it does not increase the number of H-1B visas for highly skilled persons, currently capped at 65,000. Media reports agreed that the rule changes would make it easier for people from abroad to get a toehold in the US tech industry, but it will not address one of the tech industry's top policy priorities which is an increase in H-1B visas. India is the fourth source country with 450,000 people living in the country without papers, according to a new Pew Research Centre report. While around 8.1 million authorised immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the US labour force, many are engaged in low paying jobs that Americans do not want to do, Indians cornered nearly two thirds of the total permits for skilled workers in 2012.