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Friday 21 Apr 2017 01.18 PM

Jaitley raises H-1B visa issue with US Commerce Secretary

Arun Jaitley, H1B visa, US commerce secretary

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has strongly raised the Trump Administration's move to tighten the H-1B visa programmes with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, highlighting the key role played by highly-skilled Indian professionals in boosting American economy. President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its "abuse" and ensure that the visas are given to the "most-skilled or highest paid" petitioners. The Indian IT industry has expressed serious concerns over the US' move to tighten the rules for grant of H-1B visa, mainly used by domestic IT professionals for short-term work.

Taking up the case of Indian IT companies and professionals, Jaitley told Ross about the contribution of highly-skilled Indians in the economic development of the United States and India and stressed that they should continue to do so, which is in the best interest of the two countries, officials said. During the meeting -- the first cabinet-level interaction between the two countries under the Trump Administration -- Ross is believed to have said that US has started the process of reviewing H1B visas issues and no decision has been taken on it yet, they said.

Ross is understood to have said that whatever the outcome of the review process, the Trump administration's objective is to have a merit-based immigration policy that gives preference to highly-skilled professionals. The executive order signed by Trump early this week calls for a review of H-1B visas by the departments of State, Labour, Homeland Security and Justice. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. Indian technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year for their US operations.PTI

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