The US has not made any ‘comprehensive changes’ in its work visa programmes, including H-1B visas, so far despite India taking up the issue with the American government from time to time, Parliament was informed today. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the problems being faced by the IT industry have been raised by India with the US government from time to time at various levels.
India has also taken up the matter on US visa fee hike in the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization (WTO), she said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. “The US has not made any comprehensive changes to the work visa programmes including H-1B visas so far,” she said. The minister also said India has made continuous efforts to raise concerns pertaining to IT and ITeS industries in different bilateral meetings including in the Trade Policy Forum.
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Indian IT industry has raised concerns over the proposed changes in the US visa regime. Any changes may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the USD 110 billion Indian outsourcing industry. Indian IT sector, which contributes 9.3 per cent to the country’s GDP, is one of the largest private sector employers at 3.7 million people. The US contributes nearly 62 per cent of the exports, while EU is the second largest market for Indian IT services exporters contributing approximately 28 per cent.