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India taking up H1B visa concerns vigorously with US: Nirmala Sitharaman

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-03-2017 PTI

New Delhi: India has “vigorously” flagged its concerns over tightening of the visa regime in the US which has impacted the movement of professionals particularly in the IT sector, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

“India is articulating visa concerns vigorously with new administration in US,” commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The issue was also taken up by the minister recently with the visiting Congressional delegation led by Bob Goodlatte and during the visits of the commerce and foreign secretaries to the US, she said.

In a separate reply, she said no new executive order relating to H1B visa/travel policy has been released yet by the US administration, though various bills to this effect have been tabled in America.

“India has time and again, highlighted the discriminatory nature of recent bills/laws tabled by members of the US Congress,” she added.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. Indian technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year for their US operations.

The proposed overhaul of popular H1B visa regime by US President Donald Trump has raised concerns among Indian IT firms, as any changes in the visa regime may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the $110-billion Indian outsourcing industry. Around 60% of its revenues come from the US market.

Indian IT sector, which contributes 9.3% to the country s GDP, is one of the largest private sector employers with 3.7 million people.

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