ANAND SHARMA RAISES ISSUE OF H1B & L VISA WITH USTR
Date : 10 Aug 2010
Location : New Delhi
Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry in a letter written today to US Trade Representative, Mr. Ron Kirk, expressed serious concern over the proposed legislation S-3271 on Making Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for US Border Security, which, inter-alia, include provision for increase in visa fee for H1B and L.
It is estimated that the Bill will have an additional cost implication of over USD 200 million annually and an adverse impact on the competitiveness and commercial interests of Indian companies sending professionals to undertake projects locally for American customers in the US.
Though the need of the US Government to strengthen their border security is understandable, it is inexplicable to our companies to bear the cost of such a highly discriminatory law.
The Commerce Minister in his letter also said that the Indian software industry is already deeply burdened in the absence of a Totalisation Agreement, requiring them to pay more than USD 1 billion every year to the US Government in the form of social security, with no benefit or prospect of refund.
The Minister in his letter strongly expressed the concerns of Indian industry that the Bill will impact primarily companies of Indian origin, which account for less than 12% of the total visas issued by the US. While the US companies use these visas in larger numbers, they will not be liable for the increased fees and Indian companies will be affected as they are more likely to cross the threshold of 50% of the employees being on H1B and L visas.