NEW DELHI

U.S. visa law discriminatory, says India

India has conveyed its concern to the United States over the proposed legislation to increase the fee for H1B and L type visas.

Legislation S-3271 on Making Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for U.S. Border Security includes a provision for increasing the H1B and L visa fee.

In a strong letter to Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said it was estimated that the Bill would have an additional cost implication of over $200 million annually and would adversely impact the competitiveness and commercial interests of Indian companies sending professionals to the U.S. to undertake projects for American customers.

“Though the need of the U.S. government to strengthen its border security is understandable,” it was inexplicable why Indian companies should bear the cost of the highly discriminatory law? He pointed out that the Indian software industry was already deeply burdened in the absence of a totalisation agreement, requiring it to pay more than $1billion every year to the U.S. government in the form of social security, with no benefit or prospect of refund.

Mr. Sharma said the Bill would impact primarily companies of Indian origin, which accounted for less than 12 per cent of the total U.S. visas. While U.S. companies used these visas in larger numbers, they would not be liable for the increased fees. But Indian firms would be affected as they were more likely to cross the threshold of 50 per cent of the employees being on H1B and L type visas.

Anand Sharma writes to Trade Representative

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