Modi talks to Obama over H1B, L1 visa concerns

U.S. President made a telephone call to Indian PM thanking for his "critical role" in the climate change summit in Paris.

Updated - September 06, 2016 11:06 am IST

Published - December 17, 2015 05:16 am IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday shared with U.S. President Barack Obama the concerns of Indian IT industry and professionals on the proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress relating to popular H 1B and L1 visas.

Modi conveyed the concern to Obama when the U.S. President made a telephone call to him to thank for his leadership and India’s “critical role” ensuring the climate change summit in Paris.

“The Prime Minister shared with President Obama the concerns of the Indian IT industry and professionals on the proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress relating to H1B and L1 visas,” the PMO said.

Indian IT companies in the U.S. may end up paying a special $2,000 fee again on the popular H1B and L1 visas to fund a 9/11 healthcare act, with a group of Congressmen quietly mounting fresh efforts to re-impose it.

Such a move has been made part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which funds health screenings and treatments for 9/11 first responders.

The bill has been written in such a way that it would impact only Indian companies.

According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), Indian companies had paid between USD 70 to 80 million per annum between 2010 and 2015.

The “extra fee applies to companies with at least 50 per cent of their employees on H-1B visa or L-1 visas, and is in addition to the other fees paid by employers,” Computerworld reported.

Because of its 50 per cent threshold, it mostly hits the large Indian IT services firms, the leading users of the H-1B visa, the report said.

Last week, two American Senators introduced a legislation in the Senate proposing to cut the number of popular H-1B visas by 15,000 and that such a visa be given to highest wage earner first.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields.

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