U.S. Decision on Visa Restrictions is Disappointing: Indian Commerce Minister

India has raised its concerns with the United States over its plans to tighten visa rules, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said.


India has urged the United States to take “corrective actions” and reconsider its plans to tighten norms for the H-1B visa, and to end work permits for H-4 visa holders — the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

“The U.S. decision to put certain restrictions on visas is quite disappointing and we hope that the U.S. will take corrective actions,” Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said during the annual meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in India on April 26 in New Delhi, the Hindu BusinessLine reported.

India has already spoken about its apprehensions to the United States, Prabhu said, adding that Indian companies in America have added to its growth story.

“We would like to have the reality put into perspective that Indian companies in the United States are contributing significantly in the growth of the U.S. economy. We feel that the U.S. must understand the concern of India,” Prabhu said.

Talking about the role played by Indian American IT workers in enhancing the productivity and improving the services in the sector, Prabhu stressed that “the U.S. must understand the concern of India.”

Prabhu also talked about bilateral trade, and said: “The United States is putting certain conditions on trade front which has created issues at both bilateral and multi-lateral levels. I think we need to put this behind as growth in global trade would benefit all.” In March, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.

Prabhu had said earlier as well that the issues regarding the H-1B and L1 visas, which have been instrumental in facilitating the migration of IT professionals from India to the United States, were being brought up with the U.S. administration.

“We are very disappointed by some of the actions by the U.S. administration,” he said on April 24 in New Delhi, according to PTI. Prabhu pointed out that new jobs have been created in the United States as a result of Indian companies’ investment into the country, and that if spouses of Indian IT professionals are competent and qualified, they would add value to the economy instead of being a threat to local jobs, the report added.

The Trump administration is planning to scrap the employment authorization document (EAD) for H-4 visa holders, who are the spouses of H-1B visa holders, according to a recent communication between the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Francis Cissna and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. In a letter written to Charles E. Grassley, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Cissna gave an update on USCIS’ efforts to ensure integrity of the immigration system. “Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility,” Cissna stated in the letter.

The U.S. administration is facing criticism over the issue, with advocacy group, which comprises some of the biggest IT companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, disapproving the government’s decision to end the H-4 work authorization regulation.

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