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India's IT sector leaders to meet US lawmakers, Trump’s officials over H1B Visa woes

India TV News Desk New Delhi 03 Feb 2017, 10:28:40 IST
India TV News Desk

Amid uncertainty looming large over the fate of H1B Visa programme, Indian IT sector leaders will meet both US lawmakers and President Donald Trump's officials later this month to lobby against any major changes to visa regulations.

R Chandrashekhar, head of Indian IT industry body Nasscom, said that the details of the visit were still being finalised, but chief executives from some of India's big IT companies would be part of a delegation visiting Washington in the week of February 20.

Changes in the H1B Visa programme, a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers, will adversely hit the lifeline of Indian firms and professionals.

The Indian IT companies use this programme to fly tech guys to the US, their biggest market, to service clients, but some opponents in the United States argue they are misusing the program to replace American jobs.

Chandrashekhar said that the visit will also seek to emphasize the economic partnership that is being built between the two countries.

Meanwhile, speculation that Trump may soon sign an executive order curbing the H-1B programme sent shares in Indian IT companies tumbling this week. Market experts said that the President’s plans to overhaul work-visa programmes have dampened investors' sentiment. 

An Indian consultant working for Infosys in the US said that many of his colleagues were dejected, while another engineer working for Cisco in North Carolina said management had called in an immigration attorney to reassure employees.

A legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representatives which among other things calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to USD 130,000, making it difficult for firms to use the programme to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.