The Congress on Thursday contended that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not taken up with President Donald Trump the issue of H1B visa restrictions imposed by the US and asked the government to take steps to address the matter affecting Indian professionals.
Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha during the Zero Hour, Congress leader Anand Sharma asked the government to be “sensitive” to the concerns of Indian IT industry and professionals. “Unfortunately, in recent years, difficulties have been created in the movement of Indian IT professionals, particularly in the US where the temporary movement and location of (Indian) IT professionals is wrongly equated with that of the immigrants,” he said.
The Congress member said that H1B visa fees have been doubled, spouses who were allowed to travel (with the IT professional) have been disallowed and the number of visas to Indian professionals has been cut. Sharma said that he expected the Prime Minister to take up this matter with the US President during his recent visit to Washington and get a credible assurance that restrictions imposed on Indian IT professionals would be removed.
“Unfortunately this matter was not taken up and no assurance has been given. If we look at the (India-US) joint statement (issued after talks between Modi and Trump), there is not even a mention of Indian IT professionals and H1B visa issue,” he said.
The Congress leader said the movement of Indian IT professionals and grant of H1B visa should be assured. Sharma said a large number of US professionals work in India in different sectors and there should be a “reciprocity”.
He highlighted that Indian IT companies have made a significant contribution to the US industry and economy, and that value addition has helped in creation of jobs in US. Earlier, Pramod Tiwari of Congress demanded a discussion and a statement from the government on the China issue. He said the government should take the country as well as this House into confidence on this matter, while reposing faith on Indian army.