India has conveyed its expectation to the US administration for a non-discriminatory and predictable H-1B visa programme, the External Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on action taken by the government to safeguard the interests of Indian citizens working in the US, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said India has closely consulted all stakeholders and engaged with the US administration and Congress on issues related to the movement of Indian professionals, including those pertaining to the H-1B programme.
“In our engagements, we have emphasised that this has been a mutually-beneficial partnership which should be nurtured. We have conveyed our expectation to the US Administration for a non-discriminatory and predictable H-1B visa regime,” he said.
He said Indian skilled professionals have contributed to the growth and development of the US economy and have helped the country retain its competitive edge and innovation advantage.
“They are a big stakeholder in India-US relations and their backward linkages to India have helped US businesses. Most recently, issues of H-1B visa were raised during the visit of the US Secretary of State, Michael R Pompeo, to India on June 26, 2019,” he added.
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. Most of the Indian IT professionals go to the US on the H-1B work visas. They are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Cards or permanent legal residency.
Lifting the per-country cap would mainly benefit professionals from countries like India, for whom the wait for a Green Card is more than a decade. Some of the recent studies have said the waiting period for Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas is more than 70 years.