India takes up H-1B issue with US at Trade Policy Forum

India takes up H-1B issue with US at Trade Policy Forum

NEW DELHI: India has again flagged its concerns to the US over problems being faced by Indian companies in procuring H-1B and L-1 visas for professionals and asked it to revisit its position on the matter.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has asked the US government to ease the movement of skilled professionals who have over the years contributed towards making US companies more competitive.

Mr Prabhu had “productive discussions” with the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and his team in a cordial, friendly and positive manner, according to an official statement.

The Commerce Minister took up India’s concerns with regard to problems faced by Indian services companies in obtaining H-1B and L-1 visas at the 11th Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting, which was held in Washington on October 26, 2017, the statement said.

During the meeting, discussions were held on issues related to bilateral trade between the two countries, areas of mutual cooperation, market access in agriculture, non- agricultural goods and services and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

Mr Prabhu noted that the TPF serves as a robust platform that contributes towards promoting bilateral trade and investment between India and the US, the statement said.

On the US concerns related to trade deficit with India, the minister pointed out that the issue of trade deficit should be viewed in the larger context of the growing economic and strategic partnership between the two countries that has grown and strengthened in recent years.

He also took up the issue of mismatch between US visa and social security regimes, wherein Indian professionals making social security contributions do not receive their due benefits upon their return to India, the statement added.

“He urged the US to revisit its position and work towards achieving a totalisation agreement,” it said.