Arun Jaitley takes up H-1B visa issue; highlights Indian professionals' contribution to US economy

Trump administration's curbs on H1-B Visa has caused concern among Indian techies, who use the visa for jobs in the US, making the Indian government step in and raise the issue with the US counterparts.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the issue of H-1B Visa in his meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday, an Indian Finance Ministry statement said.

"Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the issue of H-1B visas for skilled professionals from India and highlighted the contribution which Indian companies and professionals are making to US economy," it said.

The two sides also discussed other economic issues related to investment and collaboration apart from ways to curb terror funding.

"Critical economic issues like Indo-US Investment Initiative, infrastructure collaboration, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, collaboration with USA for smart cities development, etcetera, were deliberated upon during the meeting," it added.

"Issues related to terror funding were also discussed and the US Treasury Secretary appreciated the role of India in this regard, including Indo-US cooperation in FATF (Financial Action Task Force)," the statement said.

Jaitley is on a five-day visit to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Trump administration's curbs on H-1B Visa has caused concern among Indian techies, who use the visa for jobs in the US, making the Indian government step in and raise the issue with the US counterparts.

The US has in fact accused top Indian IT firms TCS and Infosys of unfairly cornering the lion's share of H-1B visas. At a White House briefing last week, an official in the Trump administration said a small number of giant outsourcing firms flood the system with applications which naturally ups their chances of success in the lottery draw.

"The top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant -- they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they'll get the lion's share of visas," a senior US official said at a White House.

Earlier, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had hit back at the US saying big US companies were present in India too. "They are also here, they are earning their margins, they are earning their profits which goes to the US economy," Sithraman had said.