Bush drops hints of relaxing H1B visa limit

An
inconspicuous banner outside the lane that led to the Indian School of
Business (ISB) seems to have caught the eye of US President George Bush.

“Would
you like to work in the US?” was what the banner asked. Well, Bush
seems to have answered that question during his interaction with a
select group of entrepreneurs at the ISB – an indication of relaxing
H1B visa rules was given.

At present, the cap on H1B visas is 65,000 for knowledge workers, and India Inc has been urging the US to relax the limit.

Sashi
Reddi, chief executive officer of AppLabs Technologies, said the issue
of H1B visas did come up during the informal interaction, and there was
an indication that the US was actively looking at relaxing the limit.
Reddi was among the 16 people selected to meet Bush.

Another
significant issue that came up during the discussion was about setting
up a US consulate in Hyderabad. According to an ISB spokesperson, the
response was, “An agreement has been reached but it’s Condoleeza Rice
who has to provide the funding.”

Questions on the Kyoto deal
were also asked and Bush is reported to have categorically stated that
he totally disagreed with it.

Apart from the above, however,
the sense one got from the people who interacted with Bush was that he
was very “informal in his communication, down-to-earth and casual as
the media was not around to take him on record.”

Rammohan Rao,
the dean of ISB, was visibly happy with the visit of the VVIP. “We were
happy to be short-listed for his visit and this will help us to attract
more international students and faculty to our school,” he added.

Incidentally,
US ambassador David Mulford had visited the ISB in January 2005.
Although nothing was stated about Bush’s likely visit to the ISB, it
seems that Mulford’s visit paved the way for ISB being shortlisted for
the high-profile visit.

The others who met Bush at the ISB
included Harsha Paruchuri, director of Pragati Offset Printers, Amar
Ohri, managing director (MD) of Ohri Group, Madhavi Vuppalapati,
chairperson of Prithvi Information Solutions, Anjali Patel, student at
ISB, Rajesh Mishra, MD of MESA Corporation, Seshavataram Manepalli,
executive director of Suryachakra Power Corporation, Sumanth Paturu, MD
of Icomm Tele, Nagarjun Valluripalli, CEO of Lanco Global Systems,
Siddharth Sanghi, vice-president of The Sanghi Group, Srinivas
Ventrapragada, CEO of Clintox Bio Services, Satish Reddy, MD of Dr
Reddy’s Laboratories, Teja Raju, MD of Maytas Infra, Salman Babukhan,
MD of Babukhan Constructions, Prachi Patodia, director of Knitters and
Shankar Prasad Madiraju, MD of SPC Biotech.

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