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‘H-1B issue will impact Indo-US defence trade’

Thursday, Mar 10, 2016,15:18 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | The doubling of H-1B visa fee would impact India’s purchase of defence equipment from the US as the move would affect the country’s IT exports that generate money to buy the American military hardware, a top American industry advocacy group has warned. If India’s export gets impacted because of H-1B issue, then it would have an impact on India’s purchase of defence equipment from the US, because India is (one of) the largest buyer (of military hardware in the world), Mukesh Aghi, president of US India Business Council said.

For India IT services in the US is slightly over USD 60 billion. It is the largest export of India into the US, he said. And if it (India) does not earn foreign exchange then how it will pay. So I think, it does has an impact directly or indirectly on job creation in the US, Aghi said responding to a question on the recent discriminatory policies of US against Indian IT companies.

Indian companies, he said have invested over USD 19 billion in the United States creating large amounts of jobs. Secondly the (Indian) IT workers do make US companies much more competitive on a global basis. And classic example is the banking industry in the US after 2008 financial crisis a big chunk of our work is being done by Indian companies and they become world class more stronger, he said.

We are very much against the imposition of this discriminatory penalty on Indian companies, Aghi said in response to a question. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled another hearing on ‘Impact of High Levels of Immigrations on US Workers’. This is the second such similar hearing in less than a fortnight.

The hearing has been convened by Senator Jeff Sessions, Chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Immigration and National Interest of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sessions had recently endorsed Donald Trump the Republican presidential front runner. During a Congressional hearing on February 25, Senator Jeff Sessions and Senator Dick Durbin agreed on need to reform two temporary work visas, the H-1B and L-1, because corporations use them to keep wages low.

Last year, US President Barack Obama had signed into law a USD 1.8 trillion spending package which among other things introduces a hefty USD 4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and USD 4,500 for L1 visa. Companies having more than 50 employees and having more than 50 per cent of their US employees on H-1B and L1 visas would have to pay the new fee when the next visa application session kicks off on April 1. India alleged that the recent US measures appear to raise the overall barriers for service suppliers from India seeking entry into the United States.

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