Flagging India’s concern over the immigration reform bill with US authorities, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said the visa restrictions proposed on knowledge workers amount to non-tariff barriers.

The Minister, who is here on an official visit, raised the issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill with the US Congress members, including Joe Crowley, Sandy Levin, Erik Paulsen, John Larson and Ami Bera, on Thursday.

Mr. Chidambaram expressed India’s discomfort on the immigration issue saying that the “temporary relocation of knowledge workers (which is not ‘immigration’ by any definition) has been linked to the larger issue of immigration.”

In his view, said a statement, “the restrictions sought to be placed on knowledge workers amount to non-tariff barriers.”

The bill, which was recently passed by the US Senate, and is before the House of Representatives, proposes several changes including higher visa costs and increase in wages for H-1B visa holders.

If passed by the House of Representatives, the Bill will be sent to President Barack Obama for signing it into law.

The proposed law will hurt the over USD 100 billion IT-ITES industry in India and software firms such as TCS and Infosys as their cost of operations could go up significantly.

In addition to the visa issue, Mr. Chidambaram held discussions on wide-ranging subjects covering the gamut of Indo-US relations with Congressmen.

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