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Nasscom urges H1-B visa cap at 120,000

September 23, 2003 18:59 IST

As the United States plans to reduce the number of H1-B visas to 65,000 from 195,000, India's apex body National Association of Software and Service Companies sought to cap it between 120,000 and 130,000 per annum.

"We will like the visa cap to be high enough to allow the market forces to decide the number. But under current circumstances 195,000 is clearly unutilised, while 65,000 is too low. We will be fine with a figure of 120,000 to 130,000," Nasscom President Kiran Karnik told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

H1-B visas, which allow skilled professional to work in the US, is slated to come down to 65,000 on September 30, 2003, unless a proactive legislation is brought into force.

Asked about the impact of rupee appreciation, vis-a-vis dollar, on Indian software exports, Karnik said the rising domestic currency was "hurting" exports and pointed out, "If rupee appreciates slowly, we will manage but sudden volatility creates problems."

"Last year the rising rupee had an impact of 3-5 per cent on the operating level. But this year the impact should be less as companies have planned in advance," Karnik said, adding the pressure on billing rates was steady now.

He also expressed concern at the tendency to create barriers.

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