Millennium Post

Do not discriminate against Indian firms, Nasscom tells USA

Lauding India's decision to ask the US to find a just and non-discriminatory solution to visa issue, software body Nasscom on Wednesday said the US should revisit the decision on visa fee hike and commit against such "discriminatory steps" in future.

"The US should revisit the issue of hike in visa fee, and find appropriate alternatives to fund their (social) objectives. Also, there should be clear commitment against such discriminatory steps in future," R Chandrashekhar, President of Nasscom said.

Expressing hope that the US would look into the issue of increase in visa fee, which has been doubled for certain categories of H1B and L1 visas to USD 4,000 and USD 4,500 respectively, Chandrashekhar said, "While we understand and are sympathetic to the fact the fee collected will be utilised towards healthcare requirements of the 9/11 victims, the question remains as to why should that cost be imposed on skilled IT workers." 

He said the US approach to the issue has been "discriminatory, singling out Indian companies without naming them, for adverse treatment". "We are opposed to the approach of looking at provisions or restrictions on a discriminatory basis. It is not conducive to trade relations between the two countries," Chandrashekhar said terming the visa issue as "trade issue" and not an immigration issue. India, on Tuesday, asked the US to find a "just and non-discriminatory" solution to the issue to avoid any adverse effect on the bilateral trade ties.

Speaking at the plenary session of the second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) yesterday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said the issue of totalisation and recent fee hike for H1B and L1 visa has affected people-to-people exchanges, which has been a vital source of strength for the relationship between the two nations.

"...I would urge you to find a just and non-discriminatory solution to these issues," Swaraj had said. India has time and again raised the issue of hike in visa fees by the US, and even filed a case in the WTO against the US decision to impose high fees on temporary working visas. 
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