A key Indo-American business body has favoured early visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US to help iron out issues with President Donald Trump on tightening of visa rules that impacts over $100-billion Indian technology industry. N V Srinivasan, National President, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), said it is “right time for India and the US to clear misconceptions and erroneous inferences” voiced in various quarters about loss of jobs in the US on account of granting of H-1B visas to Indian skilled workers.
“The reports emanating from the US suggest that the visa rules may be further tightened. Already, the decision of the US to suspend priority processing of H-1B visas is affecting the Indian industry,” he said.
“Coupled with this, there are reports that further stringent measures are on the anvil. An amicable solution to such vexatious issues will require consultations at the highest level between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump.”
Moreover, he said, the contribution of Indian workers has to be seen against their role in scripting technological changes in the US economy. Some of the H-1 B visa holders are into high-end innovation technology development, aiding US corporations to shore up the technological edge.
“To categorise these brilliant minds imbued with a passion to work 24/7 as mere workers is an anachronism and a nation like the US, which embarks on meritocracy more than any other country, visa regulations for technical people sound like a paradox,” said the IACC president.
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Quoting a report by the US Chamber of Commerce, Srinivasan debunked the notion that H-1B visa holders are replacing American workers.
“One can understand such emotive issues getting flashed up during the election times – as it happened even earlier – but such rhetoric had died down after the elections. The present controversy should also make a silent retreat,” he said.
Srinivasan observed that another factor that is relatively unknown is 50 per cent of the H-1B visas and intra company transfer visas (L1) are granted to Indian professionals and students passing out from US universities.