H1B visa norms tightened, Indian techies explore illegal routes to enter US

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) With the US tightening H1B visa norms amid a significant peak drop in the number of US visas being issued, there is a possibility that some Indian software engineers may also be trying their luck to enter the land of opportunity via illegal routes in Mexico and Hungary, IANS has learnt.
On Friday, Mexican immigration authorities deported 311 Indians — 310 men and one woman – who reached New Delhi on Friday evening, which is the largest ever deportation in the Mexican history of the trans-Atlantic deportation by air.
India has been urging the US to be more liberal in issuing H1B visas to engineers and IT professionals but to no avail. Owing to this, tech companies headquartered in the US are facing a dearth of talented software engineers since the H1B visa norms were tightened.
This may have led Indian techies to take dangerous routes usually taken by undocumented immigrants to reach the US.
The most popular route to enter the US illegally for Indians in Mexico is to hitch rides and reach the western city of Guadalajara.
The other popular spot for Indians to enter the US illegally is Budapest in Hungary. US officials recently uncovered a fraud scheme that has allowed foreign nationals to enter the US under false identities, via using vulnerabilities in Hungary’s passport system.
An email sent to the IT industry’s apex body Nasscom on the development went unanswered.
The Ministry of External Affairs was yet to issue a statement.
A government source, however, said India does not support illegal immigration anywhere but in case of Indians who are documented immigrants and face issues anywhere including in the US, the Indian government is with them.
According to Pew Research, at the US-Mexico border, there have been more apprehensions of non-Mexicans than Mexicans every year since fiscal 2016.
“Non-Mexicans accounted for 62 per cent of apprehensions at the southwest border in fiscal 2018, marking the third consecutive year in which they outnumbered Mexicans,” said the report.
Earlier, 311 Indians reached Delhi airport on Friday on a specially arranged non-scheduled Boeing 747-400 charter flight by the Mexican immigration authorities.
“The @INAMI_mx informs of the arrival in New Delhi, India, of 311 people from that country, who had irregular status in # Mexico , the return was carried out in agreement with the Embassy of India, complying with immigration rules and procedures in force,” tweeted the National Institute of Migration of Mexico.
“Mexico and @INAMI_mx showing their commitment to secure borders and orderly, legal migration through the unprecedented repatriation of 311 Indian nationals to India on Wednesday night. Commissioner Garduno (@fgymexico) is sending a strong message to human smugglers,” Mark Morgan, the acting Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, said in a tweet.
Majority of the deported Indians, in the 18-35 age group, were from Punjab and Haryana.
All of them were caught over a period of several months in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Baja California, Veracruz, Chiapas, Sonora, Mexico City, Durango and Tabasco.
The Mexican authorities allege that these Indians had illegally reached the country over the last few months to enter the United States.
This is the first such action taken by Mexico since it enhanced efforts to crack down on people using its territory to sneak into the US. Mexico had agreed to boost security on the border and expand its policy of taking back migrants.
The move comes after US President Donald Trump in June threatened tariffs on all Mexican imports if the country did not put a check on people entering the US through its borders.

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