The U.S. on Tuesday agreed to “look into” India’s concerns on the Obama administration’s move to hike fees for H1B and L1 visas. India Inc. raised the issue at the India-U.S. CEO Forum, saying the move hurt Indian IT firms, which are the main users of these non-immigrant temporary work visas.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said India conveyed its concerns to the U.S. during the bilateral Strategic & Commercial Dialogue.
The visa fee hike has “affected our people-to-people exchanges… I would urge you to find a just and non-discriminatory solution to these issues,” Ms. Swaraj told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said, “When [Indian] industry expresses concerns about their feeling of being targeted [through a visa fee hike]…. it is imperative that we look into that issue.”
Ms. Swaraj also sought Mr. Kerry’s support for a resolution on the delay in entering into an agreement on totalisation.
According to India, the absence of a totalisation pact is imposing a burden on the Indian software sector as they have to shell out over $1 billion per year to the U.S. Government towards social security, with no benefit or prospect of refund.(THE HINDU,2016)