Obama assures Modi on concerns over H-1B visa issue

Last Updated 26 January 2015, 14:33 IST

President Barack Obama has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will look into India's concerns on the H-1B visa issue as part of his comprehensive immigration reform, US officials said today.

Obama told Prime Minister Modi that his administration would be in touch with the Indian government on issues related to H-1B visas, popular among Indian techies.

"I think what the President indicated is this is the type of issue (H-1B) that we have approached through the context of comprehensive immigration reform and so, given his ongoing efforts to work with Congress in pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform, we would be incorporating these types of issues in that process and would be in touch with the Indian government as that moved forward," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told US reporters travelling with Obama.

Responding to a question on the bilateral talks held between the two leaders yesterday, Rhodes acknowledged that India's concerns over certain aspects of the immigration reform were raised at the highest level.

"They (Modi and Obama) discussed the ongoing discussions around immigration reform in the United States where there are so many Indian-American and Indian immigrants," he said.

"The Indian government raised the issue, as they regularly do. It usually does include the H-1B visa issue. Indians are working in the high-tech sector in the United States, as well as broader India presence in the United States, people who are there on a temporary basis working," Rhodes said.

In November last year, President Obama had bypassed the Congress to announce the most sweeping reform to fix America's "broken" immigration system to protect millions of illegal workers from deportation.

The plan would let parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents remain in the country temporarily, without the threat of deportation. The measure would apply to those who have been in the US for last five years.

The executive action, said to be one of the largest measure by a US President on immigration, is expected to help a significant number of Indian techies who currently have to undergo a painful and agonising process of H-1B visas to get legal permanent status (LPR), popularly known as Green Card.

(Published 26 January 2015, 14:33 IST)

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