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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Suspension of work visas by US will affect movement of Indian professionals: MEA

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday that high-skilled Indian professionals bring important skill sets, bridge technological gaps and impart a “competitive edge to the US economy” and are a “critical component of the workforce”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy |
Updated: June 26, 2020 7:24:35 am
H1-B visa, H1-B visa banned, Donald Trump, Trump bans H-1B visa, US immigration visa The Donald Trump administration has extended the 60-day ban on immigration and non-immigrant worker visas till the end of 2020. (Representational)

Days after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending the ban on immigrant and non-immigrant worker visas until the end of this year, India on Thursday said the move would likely affect the movement of skilled Indian professionals working lawfully in the US.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday that high-skilled Indian professionals bring important skill sets, bridge technological gaps and impart a “competitive edge to the US economy” and are a “critical component of the workforce”.

“The US has always welcomed talent and we hope our professionals will continue to be welcomed in USA in the future,” Srivastava said, while responding to questions at the weekly briefing.

Read | Trump suspend H1-B visas till 2020 end; Google, Apple “disappointed” with proclamation

“We have seen the Proclamation issued by President Trump on June 22 temporarily suspending entry of certain categories of non-immigrant visa-holders & their family members till December 31, 2020

“This is likely to affect movement of Indian skilled professionals who avail of these non-immigrant visa programmes to work lawfully in the US. We are assessing the impact of the order on Indian nationals and industry in consultation with stakeholders,” he said.

On April 22, President Trump had signed an executive order banning the entry of workers on non-immigrant visas for a period of 60 days.

Earlier this week, Trump signed an executive order, extending the 60-day ban on immigration and non-immigrant worker visas till the end of 2020, including the coveted H1B and H2B visas, as well as certain other categories of H4, J, and L visas.

In a statement, the White House said that many American workers had been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, and “they should not remain on the sidelines while being replaced by new foreign labour”.

Barring exceptions, “we should not permit large numbers of foreign workers to enter the United States at a time when so many Americans are out of work”, the statement said.

Explained: How US pause on H1-B work visas will hit Indian companies

The ban on the entry of non-immigrant workers with H1B visas is likely to have the biggest impact globally, and especially on Indian IT firms and workers.

The order also replaced the current system of awarding H1B visas by lottery with a system that privileges applicants who are paid more than others.

Many major global technology companies outsource their backend database updation, service, and maintenance jobs to IT companies based in India. However, skilled employees from these organisations travel to the US on client site visits, and to work on more specialised requirements.

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