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India takes up US visa fee hike in WTO dispute settlement body

Mar 29, 2017
The Centre has said that India has taken up the U.S. visa fee hike matter in the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organisation ( WTO).
This was said by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
She further said that the Indian Government continues to engage with the U.S. administration for better access of its professionals in the country.
"H-1B & L-1 visa issues, including increase in visa processing fees, high rejection rates and other difficulties faced by the Indian services companies, have been raised with the US Government at various levels," Sitharaman said.
The Government of India has already conveyed its concerns to the U.S. administration on the move to curb H1B visa processing.
"Concerns have been conveyed to USA. Indian IT companies have been servicing 75 percent of Forbes companies. Indian IT companies giving opening to American companies. Whole IT movement is based on sharing and reciprocity," said Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, who visited U.S early this month, had conveyed to Trump administration that Indian partnership is important for the growing American economy to stay competitive.
Jaishankar said that the H-1B visa issue was discussed in a number of meetings with administration officials as well as the Congress.
During the meetings, the Indian side conveyed that the H-1B was a category of trade and services which actually helps the American economy.
"If the Trump administration's intention is to bring back American companies to America and attract more foreign investment in America therefore there will be more growth then it is important that growing America remains competitive. So, there actually will be a growing need for this partnership," Jaishankar said.
U.S. had earlier said that it will temporarily suspend premium processing of H-1B visas from April 3, eliminating the option of shorter waiting period for the programme that helps highly skilled foreigners to work at American firms.
The companies, under the current system have been submitting applications for H-1B visas for potential employees who can pay an additional sum for expedited service, which is known as premium processing.
The temporary suspension could last up to six months according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
H-1B visas are widely used by Indian IT companies working in US.
Deccan Chronicle, March 29,2017

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