Prabhu says India raises H-1B visa issue with US very strongly

Prabhu says India raises H-1B visa issue with US very strongly

New Delhi: India has “very strongly” raised the issue of H-1B visa and L1 visa with the U.S., Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said on October 27, asserting that the American economy will find it difficult to cope with the reality as it has been immensely benefited by Indian IT professionals.

The U.S. has tightened the norms for issuing the most sought-after H1B and L1 visas in line with the Trump administration’s goal to protect American workers from discrimination and replacement by foreign labour.

In a new directive, the Trump administration this week made it more difficult for the renewal of H1B and L1, popular among Indian IT professionals, saying that the burden of proof lies on the applicant even when an extension is sought.

Under the current U.S. rules, Indian IT professionals working in the U.S. on H1B visas do not get back their contribution to social security, which runs into at least more than $1 billion per annum.

“We raised very strongly the issue of Indian professionals and H1B and L1 visa issues,” Mr. Prabhu said after the first U.S.-India bilateral Trade Policy Forum (TPF) under the Trump administration which was also attended by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“We explained to them that we are not raising this issue because Indians will find it difficult to come, because US economy itself will find it difficult to cope with the reality because the U.S. has immensely benefited by IT professionals penetrating into the market by offering services that has improved their productivity,” Mr. Prabhu said.

Batting for Indian IT companies, he also strongly raised the issue of totalisation.

“I hope they will look into the issue,” Mr. Prabhu said, as he pointed out towards the issue of mismatch between U.S. visa and U.S. social security regimes, wherein Indian professionals making social security contributions do not receive their due benefits upon their return to India.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and India have also agreed to address the issue of trade deficit by increasing and diversifying bilateral trade, the minister said as he sought easing of procedures for export of mangoes and pomegranates to the U.S.