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India lobbying hard with Trump administration to avert H-1B visa threat

India has stepped up lobbying effort against moves in the US Congress to impose curbs on visas for skilled workers.
India TV Business Desk New Delhi February 24, 2017 23:55 IST
India TV Business Desk

India has stepped up lobbying effort against moves in the US Congress to impose curbs on visas for skilled workers, according to a report by news agency Reuters.

The US Congress move threatens India’s technology sector , which employs more than 3.5 million people.

The Reuters report quoted India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as saying that New Delhi had reached out to the administration of President Donald Trump to stress the importance of India’s $150-billion IT services industry to U.S. citizens.

“India’s investments in the United States have provided jobs to US citizens. That has to be brought to the notice of the US administration. The comments come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Washington to keep an open mind on admitting skilled Indian workers. Indian software companies such as Tata Consultancy Services , Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd shot to prominence in the 1990s by helping Western firms stamp out the “Y2K” bug,” Sitharaman told Reuters.

A bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress last month to more than double the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders, which could significantly boost costs for IT companies, whose margins are already being squeezed. 

India’s hi-tech industry association NASSCOM has decided to lobby U.S. lawmakers and companies to urge the administration not to crack down on allowing its skilled workers into the United States.

In fact, a NASSCOM delegation is now in the United States to make its case to officials on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

The Indian government led by PM Modi is backing this move of NASSCOM. 

“We will have to engage with the new administration. Our engagement at every level is intact and continuing,” Nirmala Sitharaman said. 

Indian nationals are by far the largest group of recipients of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued annually to new applicants under a cap mandated by Congress.