Arun Jaitley Pushes For Reforms in H-1B Visa Processes

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is on a one-week visit to the United States to attend IMF and World Bank meetings.


Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pitched for reforms in the H1-B visa processes, saying it would be unfair for highly skilled Indian professionals serving U.S. interests to be deprived of their hard-earned money. Jaitley, during his current visit to the United States, said the contribution these professionals make to the American economy must be suitably appreciated.

The comments came during the bilateral talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington, which were held on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings. Also discussed were steps to improve bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

“Jaitley made a strong case for reforms in H1-B/L1 visa processes and social security contribution so that high caliber Indian professionals serving American interests are not unfairly deprived of their well-earned money. He also highlighted the contribution skilled Indian professionals have made to the US economy and said that this must be suitably appreciated by the US side,” a statement by the finance ministry said on Oct. 13.

Increasing Opportunities in India

Jaitley, who is traveling with Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel and Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, also talked about the structural reforms India has taken, mainly the transition to the Goods and Service Tax (GST), financial inclusion and action against shadow economy. He pointed out that after the Modi government came to power, all consequential steps have been taken one after the other to expand India into a clean, bigger and better economy.

“There is clear evidence now that slowdown effect of demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has now more or less played it out,” he said. “The implementation of the GST from July 1, 2017 and its gradual complete transition, follow-up to demonetization, and enacting other structural reforms by the Government of India would take the economy towards higher growth trajectory.”

With the GST in place, he said, a huge opportunity has come up in various sectors of Indian economy, like the infrastructure sector. “I think there is a huge amount of opportunity as far as India is concerned,” he said. “It’s quite comforting for us to find that investors view India as a country where they see a lot of activity going on.”

At a seminar at the IMF headquarters organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Jaitley also said that there is a more “positive mood around the world” as far as economy is concerned, with foreign direct investment to India improving over 2016-17 from 2015-16.

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