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H-1B visa concerns: MEA says India’s concerns conveyed to US

india Updated: Jan 31, 2017 22:28 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
New Delhi. Hindustan Times
Donald Trump

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup addresses the media in New Delhi on January 14, 2016.(Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo )

The external affairs ministry said on Tuesday that India’s concerns and interests were conveyed to the US government, as the Donald Trump administration was said to be preparing executive orders on H-1B visas.

“India’s interests, concerns have been conveyed both to the conveyed both to the US administration and the US Congress at senior levels,” foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

According to sources, Indian embassy officials in Washington met with US officials and legislators “very recently” at a time the Trump administration was putting in place measures to control immigration.

Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS avail a large number of H-1B visas to send Indian professionals to the US.

White House spokesperson Sean Spicer told reporters that H-1Bs and other visas were “a part of larger immigration reform effort that Trump will continue to talk about through executive order and through working with Congress”.

“There is an overall need to look at all these programs and you will see that both through executive action and through comprehensive legislative measures a way to address immigration as a whole and the visa programmes,” he said.

Trump had earlier talked about issuing an executive order for the labour department to investigate visa abuses that he asserted affect the wages of American workers. H-1B visas are issued to skilled professionals.

In 2015, then President Barack Obama’s administration permitted spouses of H-1B visa holders to get permission to work.

It is estimated that nearly 86% of H1-B visas for computer-related jobs and 46.5% for engineering positions are bagged by Indians. The US issues 85,000 H1-B visas every year.