India hopes positive talks with US on visa fee hike

India has announced that it looks forward to WTO consultations with the US, on May 11 and 12

The Dollar Business Bureau

The Government of India announced on Tuesday that it is looking forward to the consultations with the US at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), being held on May 11 and 12.

It is hoping a constructive engagement would take place with the US, with regard to the measures taken by it, on the fee hike in the H-1B and L-1 categories. Implementation of the same could affect the US-based Indian companies and IT professionals.

The categories of H-1B and L-1 of non-immigrants, for which there has been a considerable hike in the fee, match with categories of intra-corporate transferees and specialists, which are a part of the commitment by the US under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of WTO.

These categories are widely used by service suppliers of India, specifically in the IT sector, offering services in the US. Both the countries share a mutually beneficial and inter-dependent relationship in the services trade. The US accounts for about 60 percent of software exports from India, whereas IT professionals from India are playing a constructive role in contributing to the US economy.

The rising volume of trade in services has played a significant role in contributing to both economic growth and generation of employment prospects, within the US.

The measures taken by the US to hike fee for H-1B and L-1 categories are not just affecting the competitiveness of services industry of India, offering services to the US market, but also creating uncertainties for Indian suppliers of service.

In March this year, India took the US to the dispute settlement body of WTO against its measures of fee hike on specific applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories. India had mentioned that this measure would affect its IT professionals. It is expecting that discussions during the consultations will be productive and would result in removing the deterring measures for trade between the two.

The Dollar Business Bureau - May 11, 2016 12:00 IST