US H1B row: Nirmala Sitharaman says ‘Sovereign right of a country to issue visa cannot be questioned’

Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said she has discussed the issue of the contentious H1B visa with the US government.

US is reviewing the H1B visa so that there is no abuse over its use, she says. (PTI)

Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said she has discussed the issue of the contentious H1B visa with the US government and added that the sovereign right of a country to issue a visa cannot be questioned, a Bloomberg TV report said. Speaking to reporters today, the minister said that the US is reviewing the H1B visa so that there is no abuse over its use and it remains transparent.

The H1B visa row broke out after Donald Trump took over as the US president earlier this year. Stakes are quite high for Indian IT firms, which not only earn close to 60 percent of their revenues from the US, but also send their employees to the country on H1B visas at client sites as well as their own offices located there.

Recently, Information Technology Minister Ravishankar Prasad had said that the Centre is taking the issue with the US Government “at the highest quarters”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also discussed the Visa issue with US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. During the discussion, the minister had highlighted the contribution which Indian companies and professionals are making for the US economy, as per a statement by the Ministry of Finance. Arun Jaitley had also raised the issue with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross earlier.

Just yesterday, US accused leading Indian IT firms like Infosys and TCS of cornering a large share of H1-B visas unfairly by putting extra tickets in the lottery system.

An official had said that some outsourcing firms often flood the system with applicants, increasing their chances of success in the lottery draw. While replying on why Indian companies were singled out, the White House had said that TCS, Infosys, and Cognizant were the top three recipients of H-1B visas.

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