India, US to discuss H-1B visa fee hike
The Dollar Business Bureau
India hopes that the deliberations during the WTO consultations turn out to be constructive, and subsequently result in removal of certain trade restrictions.
“India hopes that the US will constructively engage with India to address its concerns regarding recent US measures which impair the ability of both US-based Indian companies and Indian professionals to supply services in the US,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
India will hold consultations with the US at the WTO on May 11-12, 2016.
In January this year, the US government had notified an additional fee up to $4,000 on certain categories of H-1B and L1 visas. The Indian government as well the industry had expressed their disappointment saying the US’ move will hit the services trade between the two nations. They had urged the US government to reconsider its trade restrictive measures.
The government on Tuesday said the significant fee hike on the H-1B and L-1 categories of non-immigrants is in line with the categories of specialists and intra-corporate transferees, which are part of the US’ commitments as per the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services. And the Indian service suppliers, especially the IT industry, extensively use these two categories to supply services to the US.
The commerce ministry said India and the US for long have shared a robust relationship in trade in services, with the latter accounting for nearly 60% of software exports from India. Indian IT professional have played an anchor role in enhancing the competitiveness of the US economy. Therefore the two partners should create a win-win situation for both the nations, it asserted.
The Indian government on its part stressed that the fee hike in the two categories has not only adversely affected the competitiveness of the Indian service industry in the US market, but also created uncertainties for Indian service suppliers.
“They also run counter to the basic principles of a transparent and predictable trading environment, which lies at the very heart of the WTO agreements,” it said.