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Rami Fakhoury on IT Immigration

Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bills pending for US House and Senate

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One of America's strengths is the fact that it is an immigrant country, with family and commercial ties around the world.  It remains a country of vast human and natural resources, where people with a vision can make new businesses flourish.  This is unlikely to change in any fundamental way for several more years. This presents an opportunity for those with ingenuity and a willingness to take risks; at a time when a herd of competitors may cut and run, many believe this is the time to expand.    


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Recent U.S government reports show a lower demand for U.S business immigration compared to past years.  Months after the annual H-1B visa lottery, there are still lots of visa numbers available.  Demand for H-1B and other business visas in FY2009 was down by at least 15% overall from a year earlier.  Processing times in some cases are now shorter.  This presents an opportunity for consulting firms that still see an opportunity to pick up business in the U.S.


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American companies concerned with bottom-line savings, continue as before to concentrate on core business, outsourcing back-office operations offshore.  We believe that in-sourcing and near-sourcing will become an increasingly important part of most company's business models in the near future.  We have a White Paper, detailing the current situation and demand for H-1B and other U.S. business visas during the last decade available for inspection on our website.  


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The U.S remains the largest single market in the world for Information Technology, BPO, IPO and LPO services.  It is also becoming one of the most difficult countries to transfer essential foreign staff, particularly for companies that employ workers in a dual-tier business model.   Navigating U.S immigration laws in the IT consulting industry has become a challenge that only a few highly-specialised law firm, such as FLG can undertake successfully.  


The U.S House and Senate both have Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) Bills pending. These contain some provisions that would not be favorable to the business immigration community.  However, the present political environment does not seem favorable to passage of CIR in 2010. Nonetheless, we anticipate that the U.S. Immigration system will continue to change and will become more selective.  We are working with our clients to meet their changing regulatory and compliance needs.  Companies will have to adjust their business models, and we anticipate that in-sourcing and near-sourcing will become more prevalent in the IT consulting industry.

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