Assessing impact of US' H-1B suspension move, says MEA

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India on Thursday said the US administration’s decision to temporarily suspending entry of some categories of non-immigrant visa-holders till December is expected to affect the movement of skilled Indian professionals.

However, India remains hopeful that its professionals “will continue to be welcomed in the US in future” as that country has always welcomed talent, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly media briefing.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 22 temporarily suspending various categories of visas for immigrants, including the issuance of fresh H-1B visas and L-1 visas (for inter-company transfers), till December 31. This was done because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also read | Trump’s visa suspension ‘mildly negative’ for Indian IT firms, says rating agency ICRA

Indians are the main beneficiaries of the much sought-after H-1B visa programme to gain entry to the US as skilled immigrants.

The temporary suspension of entry of certain categories of non-immigrant visa-holders and their family members is “likely to affect movement of Indian skilled professionals who avail of these programmes to work lawfully in the US,” Srivastava said.

“We are assessing the impact of the order on Indian nationals and industry in consultation with stakeholders. People-to-people linkages and trade and economic cooperation, especially in technology and innovation sectors, are an important dimension of the US-India partnership,” he added.

Also read: Donald Trump’s anti-immigration move | HT Editorial

Srivastava pointed out high-skilled Indian professionals “bring important skill sets, bridge technological gaps and impart a competitive edge to the US economy”.

He added, “They have also been a critical component of the workforce that is at the forefront of providing Covid-19-related assistance in key sectors, including health, information technology and financial services.”

Indians currently account for more than 70% of the 85,000 H-1B visas given out every year.

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