Arun Jaitley raises H-1B visa issue with US officials

Washington: Finance minister Arun Jaitley has raised the issue of reforms in the H-1B and L1 visa processes during his talks with US Treasury and commerce secretaries and asked them to appreciate the contributions of Indian professionals to America’s economy.

Jaitley, who is in the US on a week-long tour, held bilateral meetings with his US counterpart and Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and discussed Indo-US economic cooperation, in particular, how bilateral trade and investment can be improved between the two countries.

The finance minister highlighted the structural reforms India has undertaken through a series of bold measures, including the goods and service tax (GST), financial inclusion and action against the shadow economy, an official statement said.

He also highlighted the contributions skilled Indian professionals have made to the US economy, and that this must be suitably appreciated by the US side, it said. He made a strong case for reforms in H1B/L1 visa processes and social security contribution so that high calibre Indian professionals serving American interest sare not unfairly deprived of their well-earned money, the statement said.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. It is the most sought after by Indian IT professionals. The L-1 visa facilitates the temporary transfer of foreign worker in the managerial, executive or specialised knowledge category to the US to continue employment with an office of the same employer, its parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate.

During his election campaign, President Donald Trump had promised to increase oversight of our H-1B and L-1 visa programmes. Earlier, the secretary, department of economic affairs (DEA), ministry of finance, Subhash Chandra Garg delivered a keynote address on micro pension where he highlighted the big challenge of convincing policy makers and the potential young persons needing pension after their active life.

He appreciated the efforts of organisers in bringing a well-researched book as country and thematic reforms action needed to realise the dream of providing pensions to over 1.2 billion people worldwide. DEA secretary also met with the CEO, World Bank; CEO, Global Infrastructure Hub and the executive vice president and CEO, MIGA besides the India World Bank team.