1. Government may look at approaching WTO if US changes H1-B policy: Report

Government may look at approaching WTO if US changes H1-B policy: Report

After US President Donald Trump signed an executive order which calls for a review of the H-1B visa programme on Wednesday, the government may look at approaching WTO if US changes H1-B policy, some government sources said.

By: | Published: April 20, 2017 12:58 PM
Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley said that he would take up the visa issue with the US authorities during his visit.

After US President Donald Trump signed an executive order which calls for a review of the H-1B visa programme on Wednesday, the government may look at approaching WTO if US changes H1-B policy, some government sources told Cogencis which BTVi reported. “We are watching the US H1-B Visa developments very carefully,” the sources further said.

Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley said that he would take up the visa issue with the US authorities during his visit. “These (IT industry issues) are matters of discussion with the appropriate authorities there. Once I do discuss and get an opportunity, I will let you know,” he told reporters when asked whether he would take up the concerns of the Indian IT sector with the US administration.

Industry body Nasscom further said that the Indian IT companies have always been fully compliant with US laws and the review of process signifies thoughtful and farsighted approach to the issue. Nasscom also warned that the US’ move to replace the lottery system for issuing H-1B work visas with a merit-based approach could have “unintended consequences” even as it sought to downplay any immediate impact on IT companies this year.

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Another industry body Assocham also expressed concern over the tightening of the visa norms. “…Indian IT companies are bound to face disruptions by way of higher costs and even some laying off work force back home, as the rising rupee is aggravating the situation further for the technology export firms,” it said. IT giant Infosys issued a statement yesterday in which it said that it is committed to helping US clients leverage tech to become even more competitive.

Before signing the executive order Trump said, “Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for, sometimes, less pay. This will stop”. He said the order sets in motion the first steps to initiate “long-overdue” reforms to end “visa abuses”. “Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery, and that’s wrong. Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest-paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans. No one can compete with American workers when they’re given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades,” Trump said. He said his administration is going to enforce ‘Hire American’ rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the United States.

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