'US has assured India there will be no significant changes in H-1B visa'

Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that the US administration has assured the India government that there will not be any significant changes in the H-1B visa regime.

Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that the US administration has assured the India government that there will not be any significant changes in the H-1B visa regime.

Speaking in the parliament, Sitharaman said in the India authorities have express concerns about the Trump government's plan to revisit the H-1B visa.

"The fear, at least for 2017, is not proved to be correct. They (US authorities) are saying their current priority is to deal with the illegal immigrants," she said during Question Hour.

Sitharaman said the issue was discussed with visiting Congressional delegation led by Bob Goodlatte. The H-1B visa issue was also raised by Commerce Secretary and Foreign Secretary during their visit to the US in the week of March 2017.

The Minister said India's concerns on visa issues were also articulated during the Strategic and Commerce Dialogue 2016 and Trade Policy Forum 2016 held in October, 2016.

She said India had decided to continue their engagement on visa issues and reiterated their shared resolve to facilitate the movement of professionals.

Sitharaman said a number of industry bodies have raised concerns on visa policies of the US and these concerns were conveyed to the US authorities by the government.

The Minister said the US monitors policies of 73 countries and India may be one of them.

"But we don't recognise any monitoring by any countries. No unilateral policing is acceptable for India," she said.

The uncertainty over the H1-B has created big concern among Indian techies who need the visa for jobs in the US. In fact, Infosys has decided not to apply for H-1B visas for junior employees.

The US will start accepting applications for H-1B work visas for the fiscal 2018 from April 3 amid the uncertainties surrounding the visa programme, the most sought after by Indian IT firms and professionals.

"The company is not applying for visas for employees with under four years of experience. We are talking to clients about offshoring more work to India, and the work done by junior employees can be brought to India," the report d an executive from Infosys.