H1-B visa reform to be part of immigration package: US to India

H1-B visa reform to be part of immigration package: US to India

 The US has assured India that the H1-B visas issue was not a priority for it and would be part of the larger immigration reforms package that the new Trump administration is working on.

The assurance came amid an ongoing debate in the US and reported moves by the Trump Administration to bring out an executive order to curtail the use of H1-B visas.

“There was a sense that there is a recognition of the contribution of the Indian tech sector. Certainly this is not very much...not a priority of the government. They are concerned with the immigration issue...most of the issues are quite different,” said visiting Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia told reporters.

“Nevertheless when it is addressed, it would be part of the overall immigration package,” Teotia said. Teotia, along with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, is currently in the US meeting top officials of the Trump administration and the Congressional leadership.India has been strongly taking up the case of H1-B visas with the Trump administration.

During their meetings with the top administration officials, including Commerce Secretary William Ross, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and with the Congressional leadership, the visiting Indian officials conveyed that H1-B is a “category of trade and services” which actually helps American economy to be competitive.

H1-B, he noted, was a trade and business issue and not an economic issue, even though in the US context it was seen as part of the immigration basket.

Bipartisan H1-B, L1 visa reform bill introduced in US Congress

A bipartisan group of four US lawmakers, including Indian-American Ro Khanna, on Saturday introduced a legislation in the Congress to reform the current H1-B and L1 work visas and end its abuse by foreign companies. The H1-B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017 introduced by Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Dave Brat, Khanna and Paul Gosar is in addition to the nearly half a dozen similar legislations pending in the US Congress – either the House of Representatives or the Senate – all of whom seek to close loopholes in the H1-B and L visa programmes to reduce fraud and abuse, provide protections for American workers and visa holders.

Interestingly, the latest move from four Congressmen come a day after a Nasscom delegation concluded its trip to the US during which they met a number of US lawmakers to sensitise them about the importance of H1-B and L1 visas.


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