Nasscom to discuss H-1 B visa issue with US senator

ET | Yahoo News |

The apex Indian IT association Nasscom will meet US senator Charles Schumer in September as part of a delegation led by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on his trip to US, Nasscom officials said. Senator Schumer was instrumental in introduction and passage of the US Border Security Act this month, that has led to a hike of over 100% in H-1 B visa fees. “We have been meeting other senators in the past and making them aware of the Indian IT industry and how it helps US companies. We are likely to have a meeting with Senator Charles Schumer and his staff over the H-1 B visa issue in September,” Ameet Nivsarkar, vice-president Nassom told ET.

The meeting by Nasscom comes in the light of criticism by many experts that India failed in its lobbying efforts to get its point across before passage of the bill. Last year, Nasscom had met senators Charles Grassley and Senator Dick Durbin, who had introduced a bill which prohibited companies having more than 50% of their staff in US on H-1 B visas, from hiring additional workers on H1 or L1 visas. The bill did not get passed in US senate.Meanwhile Nasscom president Som Mittal said that recent H-1 B fee hike issue has helped India’s concerns gaining recognition from several international trade associations. “The recent issue has made the international community aware of India’s concerns.” He added that the recent issue may help India put pressure on US to sign the totalisation agreement, when US President Barack Obama visits in October. Totalisation agreement aims to exempt Indian H-1 B holders from paying social security taxes in US as they don’t get the benefits, before 10 years. Nasscom also feels that the recent H-1 B visa fee hike may not actually be able to raise the $600 million it is intended to, if many Indian IT companies start hiring US citizens. Many of them already have hundreds of US citizens as staff in their onshore offices. A US Chamber of Commerce report issued this month also comes out in support of more H-1 B visas.


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