India Closely Engaging with US on H-1B Visas: MEA in Parliament 

Former US president Trump on 23 June, 2020 had announced a ban on the issuance of all H-1B visas till 31 March.

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The Indian government is focusing on bilateral ties with the US government, according to the MEA statement. Image used for representation. 

The Ministry of External Affairs said that the Indian government is closely engaged with the US Department of State regarding the suspension of H1B work visas under the US Presidential Proclamation of 22 June 2020, in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, 4 February.

“US Presidential Proclamation of 22 June 2020, suspended entry of certain categories of non-immigrant visa holders and their families till 31 December 2020 (extended to 31 March 2021). This proclamation isn't specific to India or any one country,” said the MEA, quoted ANI.

Former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, 23 June, 2020 had announced a ban on the issuance of all H-1B visas, among other type of work visas, till the end of the year. As per a proclamation signed by Trump, the ban comes into effect starting 24 June, now extended to 31 March 2021, and applies to a number of work visas.

Trump’s Proclamation to Protect American Jobs

Trump said the step was essential to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs. His proclamation also extends his previous executive order that had banned issuance of new green cards of lawful permanent residency till the end of the year.

“The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L non-immigrant visa programmes, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans,” Trump said.

India Working Closely With US: MEA

The H-1B visa is a work permit that allows foreigners to work for companies in the United States in ‘specialised roles’ that domestic workers can’t fulfil. The H-4 visa is issued to spouses and children of H-1B visa holders waiting to become permanent residents.

An estimated 85,000 H1-B visas are issued each year. The MEA, in the Parliament today wrote, “According to the US Department of State, Indian nationals have received between 69.9 to 72.1 percent of the total H-1B visas issued by the government of USA between the fiscal years 2017 to 2019,” quoted ANI.

The Indian government is focusing on bilateral ties with the US government according to the MEA statement, which said, “Government is closely engaged with US Administration and other stakeholders on issues related to movement of Indian professionals, highlighting importance of people-to-people linkages and contribution of Indian skilled professionals to growth and development of the US economy,” according to ANI.

Meanwhile, the Joe Biden led, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) said on Monday, 25 January that the Trump administration’s proposal to remove dependent spouses of H4 visa from authorised employment has been withdrawn, reported PTI.

(With inputs from ANI)

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