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Biden reforms to make visa rules easier for Indian techies

Indian techies to gain from Biden reforms (courtesy: The New York Times).

US IT sector including tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Apple, have welcomed President Joe Biden's move to initiate immigration reforms, saying the steps would spur economic growth, create more jobs and attract the best talent from across the world.

Termed the US Citizenship Act of 2021, the legislation modernises the immigration system, and also proposes to eliminate the per country cap for employment-based green cards. This would benefit thousands of Indian IT professionals who under the Trump administration rules would have to wait several decades for permanent residency rights.

On day one of his presidency on Wednesday, President Biden sent a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress which proposes major overhaul to the system that will a path to citizenship for thousands of undocumented immigrants. It would also reduce the time that family members must wait outside the US for green cards.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the “comprehensive immigration reform reflects the American values of justice, fairness and dignity. This effort will strengthen American communities and the pathways to opportunity this country has long fostered."

Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a tweet on Thursday applauded President Biden's quick action on COVID relief, Paris climate accord and immigration reform.

"Google has supported action on these important issues and we look forward to working with the new administration to help the US recover from the pandemic and grow our economy, Pichai said.

"The Biden-Harris administration's planned actions make important and overdue investments in immigration reforms that can successfully meet the demands of a globally competitive, digital economy, including expanded visa programmes for high-skilled workers and families," said Jason Oxman, president and chief executive officer of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).

ITI is the global trade association for the tech sector, representing nearly 70 of the world's most innovative companies.

The Trump administration had extended the freeze on H-1B visas along with other types of work visas and green cards until March 31. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.