No change in H-1B visa policy so far: U.S. diplomat

MaryKay Carlson says visas are sovereign decisions

June 06, 2018 09:52 pm | Updated December 01, 2021 06:19 am IST - NEW DELHI

MaryKay Carlson

MaryKay Carlson

There is no change in the policy of visas for Indian professionals working in the IT sector of the U.S., a senior U.S. diplomat said here on Wednesday.

At an event to mark the annual Student Visa Day of the U.S. Embassy in India, Deputy Chief of Mission MaryKay Carlson said visas were a sovereign matter of a country.

She said the U.S. education system remained open despite current political changes.

“Every country like India and the U.S. makes its visa policy to ensure employment opportunities are guaranteed to the citizens of the country — that’s a sovereign decision that every country has to make. The U.S. has the most free and open immigration system in the world. Every administration looks at immigration to make it better. As of today, there is no change in the H-1B visa policy,” Ms. Carlson told presspersons.

Sushma’s hope

The U.S. official’s statement came days after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said at her annual press conference that President Donald Trump was reviewing visas for the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

“We are trying to save these visas from all three directions ... We are talking to the White House, we are talking to the State Administration, we are talking to Congressmen, we are talking to senators,” Ms. Swaraj said on May 31. The Minister, however, indicated that visas were an internal matter of the U.S.

However, emphasising the open nature of the U.S. economy, the Deputy Chief of Mission said education was part of the people-to-people contact between India and the U.S., which would continue to receive attention from the government of President Trump.

The embassy said that in 2017, more than 1,86,000 Indian students enrolled in U.S. academic institutions. Indians represented 17% of the overall international student population in the U.S.

“U.S. education to India is an export,” said Ms. Carlson, elaborating that the people-to-people contact was part of the full spectrum bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

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