Immigration bill to damage US competitiveness: Banga

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Last Updated: Oct 08, 2013, 11:20 AM IST

Washington: Certain provisions of the comprehensive immigration reform bill not only hurts Indian IT companies, but would also damage American competitiveness, and imperil thousands of jobs, a top US corporate leader has argued as the legislation is being debated in the House of Representatives.

"US policymakers need to understand the significant and harmful unintended consequences if legislation is passed containing provisions that would limit market entry of IT professionals," Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard and chairman of the US-India Business Council wrote in an op-ed in The Hill.

The final piece of legislation needs to ensure that high skilled visa programs continue to attract workers to the US and allow American companies to have a competitive advantage in today`s highly competitive global marketplace, he said.

Banga argued that the provisions discriminate against Indian IT companies, but to be very clear, some US IT providers would be blocked from providing these services.

"Moreover, there would be very real and negative consequences to US businesses that rely on these services. The harmful effects would cut across an array of American industries looking to keep their business growing, from construction and transportation to travel and tourism.

"These companies, customers of the 24/7 ‘knowledge economy’, rely on it to keep growing and creating jobs," he wrote.
"Ultimately, the provisions damage competitiveness, imperil the thousands of American jobs that have been created as part of the building of that knowledge economy, and undercut the very drivers for making more IT professionals available to meet American needs," Banga said.

US and Indian companies that bring temporary IT personnel to American businesses when such trained professionals are in short supply domestically provide a critical service in the US marketplace ? there is no reason for government policy to differentiate between any two IT companies that compete to provide essentially the same services in essentially the same ways with essentially the same labour pool, he argued.

"High-skilled workers play a major role in the US economy today. They work for our biggest job creators, are often entrepreneurs themselves and are directly contributing to the innovative companies that will employ Americans for generations to come," he said.

"Until the US can produce sufficient numbers of skilled professionals domestically, the reality is that talent must be sourced from around the globe so our companies can continue to compete successfully on the global stage," Banga added.

PTI

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