Friday, December 03, 2021

H-1B issue: Nirmala Sitharaman to hold meeting with industry on US visa issue soon

Indian companies are worried about a legislation that proposes doubling the minimum wage rate for H-1B visa holders to $1,30,000 from the present $60,000.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
February 7, 2017 5:53:01 am
 Nirmala Sitharaman, H-1B issue, United States, India Inc, Indian companies, US visa, US visa issue, India news, Indian Express Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Secretary, DIPP, Ramesh Abhishek in New Delhi, Monday. (Source: PTI)

Amid concerns being raised by India Inc on proposed changes in H-1B visa regime by the United States, the commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that any such change will have an impact on Indian companies and she will soon hold a meeting with industry to discuss its strategy to deal with it.

“Yes, there is going to be an impact. Secretary and I were talking about it and as soon as Parliament session is over, we will be holding a meeting with Nasscom, with the industries which have significant presence in the US. We will talk about how they are working out in this environment. What their strategy is. What is it that the government is doing,” the minister said.

WATCH VIDEO | PM Modi Conveyed India’s Concerns Over H1B Visa During Phone Conversation With US President Donald Trump

The proposed overhaul of popular H-1B visa regime by American President Donald Trump has raised concerns among Indian companies that have major US presence, especially IT firms. Any changes in the current visa regime is likely to result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the $110 billion Indian outsourcing industry.

“We are going to have a discussion and an exchange with them. So, from them, we will have a clearer picture of where the US is planning its own pivot. In the meanwhile, we are talking to Ministry of External Affairs and understanding how we can take a call on this issue,” Sitharaman added.

Indian companies are worried about a legislation that proposes doubling the minimum wage rate for H-1B visa holders to $1,30,000 from the present $60,000. Moreover, there is another bill that proposes disallowing companies with more than 50 employees, which already have more than 50 per cent of employees who are H1B or L1 visa holders, from hiring
additional H-1B visa holder employees.

“We are obviously monitoring the developments. Together, with Ministry of External Affairs, we are constantly in touch with our consular office in the US and with the embassy in US. So, I wouldn’t rush to give a view on it,” she added.

Sitharaman also said that there are various nuances to this issue.”It is not one call. It is a call which is possibly going to happen through an executive order. But the major decisions that are going to have a financial implications, including on the issue of minimum wages of highly qualified workers, will have to probably wait for a congressional approval. So, there are several things which are embedded in that dialogue…And since it’s so layered, it may not be right for me to react at one go about all this subjects,” the minister said.

Industry body Nasscom has already said that it will take a delegation of senior executives to Washington DC later this month to reach out to the new US administration as well as senators on concerns around clampdown on visas and flow of skilled manpower between the two nations.

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