Asserting that no executive order has been passed by the Trump administration for overhauling of H1B visas so far, India on Thursday said it will not “prejudge” the outcome of the three private bills raised in this regard when they go through the full Congressional process.
“No executive order has been signed so far... Three private bills have been introduced in the US House of Representatives. Such bills have been introduced in the past also and such bills have to go through the full Congressional process,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
“Let’s not prejudge the outcome because we have seen what has happened to the similar bills in the past also. If and when the executive order is passed, we will certainly give a reaction,” Swarup said.
Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS avail a large number of H-1B visas to send Indian professionals to the US.
Swarup also said India remains in dialogue with the Trump administration.
“They are fully aware of our position in this particular matter i.e Indian software exports and Indian software technical professionals add to the competitiveness of the US industry,” Swarup said.
Earlier, MEA had said it has conveyed its “interests and concerns” to the US amid reports that an executive order has been drafted by the Trump administration to overhaul H-1B which will severely impact Indian companies, specifically IT organisations.
H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US firms to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.
Asked if the Trump Administration was aware of India’s concerns over Pakistan, Swarup said the two sides have held wide ranging consultations at the highest possible levels i.e talks between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“They (US) is very well aware of our position on cross-border terrorism and what Pakistan needs to do,” Swarup said.
White House spokesperson Sean Spicer had earlier 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 had 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.
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.
(With PTI inputs)