The United States has told India it was going to have a broader relook at its visa regime, but this will have to await the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
This was conveyed by secretary of state Hillary Clinton to Indian external affairs minister SM Krishna when he raised the issue at their bilateral meeting in New York on Monday, according to official sources.
The US understood the Indian concern over the visa fee hike for professionals and are going to have a broader relook at the issue after the elections, she said. However, the review would not be India specific. India has protested the 2010 visa fee hike for professionals, which discriminates against Indian software companies that send employees to America on short-term contracts.
The US had raised the H1B visa fee to $2,000 per visa application and L1 by $2,700 per visa application to fund its enhanced costs on securing border with Mexico under the Border Security Act.
The US Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010 increased the fees for H-1B and L-1 categories of visas for applicants that employ more than 50 employees in the US or have more than 50% of their employees admitted on non-immigrant visas (called the "50/50 rule").
As the US is the largest market for the Indian software exports, some of the top Indian companies -TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam - were affected by the US action on visa fee.