The hard-nosed approach of the US president Donald Trump to the outsourcing work has lead to push the panic button on H1-B visa issue in Indian and following the trend of Trump now the Singapore government has also deiced to cut down on visa to Indian IT professionals.

According to the sources, the Singapore government has quietly started cutting down on the Indian IT professionals in their country. Singapore visas for IT workers has dropped ‘to a trickle’ and the slashing has been in force since early 2016. This has even prompted the Indian government to put on hold the review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) citing the violation of the trade pact, the report said.           

According to the reports published in TOI With Indian companies being advised to hire local talent, they are looking at relocating some of their operations to other countries in the region. From HCL and TCS, which were the early movers to Singapore, the list has expanded to include Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant and L&T Infotech.“This (visa problem) has been lingering for a while but since early-2016, visas are down to a trickle. All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,“ Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar told TOI. For all practical purposes, visas have stopped for our people, added another industry executive.        


Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has told the media that there was no reason to worry about the curbs on H1-B visas or the job security of Indian IT professionals working in the US for the time being as the Indian government is in talks with the US regarding this. “Currently there are four bills in the US Congress about curbs on H1-B visas. We are engaged (in a dialogue) with the US at very high level regarding this… We are making all efforts (through diplomatic channels) to ensure these bills are not passed,” Sushma said in the Rajya Sabha last week.               

Prompted by problems for IT and the banking sector -where there is a lack of transparency on the capital requirement, the Indian government has now decided against expanding the scope of goods where import duties would be cut unless the concerns of domestic industry are addressed. The sources have revealed that Singapore authorities were insisting on what is called “economic needs test“ (ENT), which requires compliance with certain economic criteria, to deny access to Indian professionals. “They are doing it despite the CECA clearly stating that there will be no ENT or quotas on agreed services. This is a violation of the agreement,“ said an Indian officer, who did not wish to be identified due to the ongoing negotiations.           

The view in the government is that it is necessary to assess the benefits that Indian industry derives from the agreement before going ahead with agreeing to expand its scope. Services trade globally faces such barriers for professionals with countries insisting on fulfilling various conditions, including ensuring that a local professional is given the first chance if he or she possesses the same or similar talent. In recent years, Singapore has emerged as a key opponent of allowing foreign professionals into the island nation.




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