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US can’t do much about India’s H-1B visa concerns

world Updated: Oct 15, 2013 12:18 IST
H1B visa

The US has spoken about the difficulty in addressing India’s concerns over visa issues in its comprehensive immigration reform bill and those related to taxation.

“Secretary Lew emphasised the difficulty involved, given legal boundaries, on both visas and FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act),” a spokesperson of the Treasury Department said after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met finance minister P Chidambaram at the IMF headquarters in Washington DC.

During the fourth annual meeting of the India-US Economic and Financial Partnership, Chidambaram took up the case of Indian IT companies and Indian concerns on visa issues, in particular those related to H-1B and L-1, in the comprehensive immigration reform bill which is currently being considered by the Congress.

“Our finance minister raised the concerns that we have with regard to the visa issues, which is presently of great concern to IT companies and also on issues related to FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), which is likely to come to operation shortly as one of the US laws,” economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram said.

“Secretary Lew carefully noted our concerns. They have assured us that within the limitations of the US system and the US laws they will try and see how far they can go to assuage the fears and concerns of the Indians on this,” he said in response to a question.

The changes under the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) put a curb on use of H-1B visa for those companies which have a higher ratio of work force under this category. Most of the Indian companies will fall under this classification.

The companies will also have to shell out more fee to get a H-1B visa, if the draft legislation is cleared by the Congress and is signed into law by US President Barack Obama.