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India Strongly Raises H-1B Visa Concerns and Other Issues with US: Suresh Prabhu

November 2017, 01
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Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister has said that India was strong in raising the concerns regarding L1 and H-1B visas and had discussed them in the US. He went on to say that the economy in America will not understand the reality that it has derived massive benefits through IT professionals from India.

United States has become strict about the norms to issue L1 and H-1B visas as the Trump administration has an aim to protect home workers from replacement and discrimination by overseas labour. In a fresh directive, the administration has made obtaining L1 and H-1B visas more difficult. The weight of submitting a proof is now on the person applying while extending plea is made. Presently under the rules of USA, Indian professionals who work on H-1B visa in the USA fail to get their well-deserved payment done to the Social Security, and this amount is USD 1 billion each year.

The matter of professionals from India was taken up after the initial Trade Policy Forum, between the two nations, was held by the administration. It saw the presence of Robert Lighthizer, USA Trade Delegate, who was told that this issue was being raised because the US economy would find it hard to deal with the existing reality, as it gained in a big way through the Indian professionals. They had made an impact in the market and offered all types of services which had advanced their productivity.

He raised the matter of totalization strongly. Clearly, the USA visa regime and the USA social security authorities had not matched their outlook as Indian professionals had made heavy contributions to social security but failed to receive their benefits after their home journey to India.

Both nations agreed to talk about the concerns on the trade deficit, and trade imbalance by going for an increase and diversification in the trade. He sought a moderation of procedures to export pomegranates and mangoes to the USA.

The USA had worried about price controlling related to medical devices, and he was optimistic that the US Based companies will avail the benefits of the Make-in-India campaign and set up manufacturing centers in India to reduce the cost.  

A Reduction in Indian imports will not deliver results and the trade deficit issue, cannot be dealt with by reducing Indian imports, but by exporting more from the USA to meet Indian expectations. This option is a constructive and forward-looking idea, which has to be welcomed.

Prabhu told the correspondents that India would resort to buying more from the States. India was interested to buy crude oil and there is a huge prospect for the USA in the Indian aviation market.

Companies like Jet Airways and Spice jet from India had ordered for 300 aircraft.

Both nations agreed to jointly work in the spheres of Intellectual Property Right, poultry farming, and pork. The issue of medical devices is very strong, and public health has been the top priority for the government in India.

Prabhu also said that the meetings had given positive results and helped in the removal of barriers to exports of mangoes. It was not easy owing to of the hard irradiation procedure approved by the USA, making it expensive, and time-consuming. Indian Plant Protection Organisation was well equipped to carry out all required inspection to meet the USA standards.

India had sought help and assistance from the USA in technology spheres relating to Electric Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, and Aviation.

A feedback on accessing the market, to expand investment and trading opportunities were also shared here. The USA drew attention to the potential to develop trade by reducing all barriers on tariff and adhering to the international standards. India has opted for simplification of bankruptcy and tax procedure and efforts in them would lead to a meaningful relationship in trade.

Prabhu dealt with the present economic and strategic relationship between both the nations, the liberalisation measures undertaken back home and the commitment towards making India a preferred destination for investment.

India was keen to provide health facilities to its people at a reasonable cost and also felt the need to have the latest technology. He appealed to the American Medical Device Manufacturers to avail facilities for manufacture in this country.

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