Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday held forth on the reports of restrictions on US H1-B visas and said that she protested the comparison of asylum-seeking migrants being equated with high-level professionals. She said that the United States of America had committed to the World Trade Organisation of a certain number and they would be questioned if they do not stick to it. Earlier, the US President, Donald Trump had signed an executive order to bring about changes in the H1-B visa system which employed high-skilled workers from foreign countries.
Earlier yesterday, it had been reported that the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday told reporters that the government was in touch with the United States government and was making a full assessment of the impact on the US’ decision on the H1B visa. The MEA was also reported to be in touch with Australia regarding the changes in the country’s work visa programme. Another crackdown on migrating professionals was seen elsewhere. Just weeks following PM Malcolm Turnbull’s India visit, Australia abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 foreign workers, of which a majority were Indians, reports suggest, in an attempt to tackle the alleged unemployment in the country.
According to AP, the White House had said that the US visa programme was damaging American workers as it brought in cheap labour and a few tech companies were making use of this to hire a large number of workers and making wage cuts. The Trump administration also told the reporters that the executive orders sought the use of American-made products in a few federal construction projects and certain federal transportation grant-funded projects. The White House also said that the commerce secretary would be reviewing the methods to close loopholes in the current rules and provide recommendations to President Trump. The executive order signed by the President, asks the secretary to examine waivers of these new rules in free-trade agreements. The White House told reporters that if these waivers did not benefit the United States than they would be renegotiated or revoked.