German ministers promise better green card, visa policies

By : |October 31, 2001 0



BANGALORE: German ministers visiting India as part of the high level
delegation led by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have promised better bilateral
relationships between the two countries focussing on collaborations in the
Information Technology sector. Issues revolving around the green card policy and
visa processing systems were also highlighted at a panel discussion hosted by
SAP Labs in Bangalore.

The panel included German Minister of Internal and Home Affairs Otto Schily,
German Minister of Economics Werner Mueller, Karnataka’s IT Secretary Vivek
Kulkarni, Infosys’ managing director and COO Nandan Nilekani, Infineon CEO
Akella Brahmayya and SAP Labs India co-director Udo Urbanek. The panel
discussion was moderated by Clas Neumann, co-director SAP Labs India.

Highlighting Germany’s IT presence in Bangalore, Kulkarni said, "The
main objective of the Karnataka IT policy is to encourage business with the
non-English speaking countries. The policy is very well taken and we have a good
response for the forthcoming IT.com. About 20-25 German companies from Bangalore
and a large contingent from Germany are taking part in this event."

Nilekani said, "Experiences were positive while setting up office in
Germany two years ago. Infosys has employed over 600 people working on different
projects for German based companies, with over 100 employees based in Germany
itself. Thanks to the policies of green card and open efforts of the German
companies, which are positive and thus can look forward to better Indo-German IT
relationship in the future."

Brahmayya said, "Dealing with high technology development in India has
been a positive experience personally wherein we’ve been able to procure
specialized skills and deliver goods. But a major problem has been time to
market and we are stretched to release our software on time. We would definitely
appreciate flexibility in the import policy issues to cater to the IT markets
immediately."

"The second issue is definitely regarding visas and the time taken to
process them, which is usually long. To be able to make the most of the
available opportunities we would like the visa processes to be simplified. We
have 30 design centers worldwide and last year alone we relocated 40 people
because of their desire to be in these countries," he added.

Emphasizing on quality, Urbanek said, "India is very much an attractive
destination for SAP. ‘Made in India’ needs to be equivalent to ‘Made in
Germany’, which is of very high quality. We have to prove that we can deliver
the same quality in comparison with our facility in Waldorf. In another three
years from now we have to establish this quality and it is definitely possible
with the excellent software talent available in India. "

As an assurance to the issues put forth, German minister Schily said,
"The current visa process takes three-four months in case of a long-term
visa requirement. We would like to improve the processing system. We often have
to grapple with security of people who apply for visas. We need to be careful in
screening such applications."

He continued, "I have been in New Delhi with our consulate and I think
we will improve the lead-time regarding the processing for long-term visas. We
are reforming the migration legislation. The green card is a very quick step to
simplify the process of coming to Germany. We will widen and extend it to
satisfy your requirements."

Apparently, Germany is India’s second largest trade partner accounting for
one of the largest foreign investments. Germany is also the second largest
importer of Indian goods in Europe, contributing to 4.28 per cent of Indian
exports worth $1,895 million in 2000-01. A survey predicts that, by 2003 the IT
investments in Germany will double with major contribution from India as a
partner.

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