Visas Discussed With Trump Without Using Term ‘H1B’: Sushma in RS
The issue had taken centrestage ahead of Modi’s US visit and was expected to figure prominently in the talks.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha about the issue of H1B visas being brought up during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, said it had been discussed, but the term ‘H1B’ was not specifically used.
She added that PM Modi had convinced US President Donald Trump that Indian professionals are significantly contributing to the US economy.
Additionally, she said that PM Modi is the only government to open 100 percent FDI in the defence sector.
The issue of H1B visas loomed over the Indo-US relationship in the run up to the Prime Minister's maiden meeting with Trump. It, however, found no mention in the joint statement released by the two leaders, leading to outrage and speculation.
With the Trump administration undertaking a review of the H1B visa, the most sought-after category among Indian IT professionals, the issue had taken centre stage ahead of Modi's US visit.
The White House, in a fact sheet, said Indian-Americans have embraced innovation and entrepreneurship, sitting at the forefront of Silicon Valley's technology revolution, and founding an estimated 15 per cent of Silicon Valley startups.
Today, nearly four million Indian-Americans reside in the United States and over 7,00,000 US citizens live in India.
Last year, the United States government issued nearly one million visas to Indian citizens, and facilitated 1.7 million visits by Indian citizens to the United States.
Ahead of the meeting, a senior Trump administration official said that Trump has signed some executive orders related to work and immigration. He said President Trump’s order on H1B visas directs the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to propose potential reforms to the H1B visa programme.
There have been growing concerns in India over the crackdown on H1B visas. Trump signed an executive order in April, tightening the rules of the H1B visa programme to stop “visa abuses”.
Trump said his administration is going to enforce ‘Hire American’ rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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