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US Visa Fee Hike: Com Minister Calls Stakeholders Meeting Tomorrow

These visas are temporary work visas for skilled IT professionals and India is the largest user of both H1B and L1 visas.

Published: 29th December 2015 08:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2015 08:43 PM   |  A+A-

Nirmala-seetharaman-PTI

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (File|PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Commerce Ministry has called a meeting of all stakeholders including Nasscom and Ficci tomorrow to discuss the concerns of the industry on the recent hike in visa fee by the US.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has already written to the US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on the issue raising India's concerns, official sources said.

Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama had signed into law a USD 1.8 trillion spending package which among other things introduces a hefty USD 4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and USD 4,500 for L1 visa.

Companies having more than 50 employees and having more than 50 per cent of their US employees on H-1B and L1 visas would have to pay the new fee when the next visa application session kicks off on April 1.

After tomorrow's meeting, the ministry is expected to soon take up the matter with the US authorities, they said adding the move would have severe impact on the Indian IT sector.

Terming the hike under the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act as highly discriminatory, IT industry body Nasscom had recently stated the move would have an impact of about USD 400 million annually on India's technology sector.

Ficci too had said the hike in special fee on the popular H-1B and L-1 visas for the Act will hamper the growth of the US economy and will be discriminatory for Indian IT companies.

"Such legislation will have a negative bearing on efforts made by the strategic partnership efforts made by Indian and US governments trying to build stronger trade ties," the chamber had said.

These visas are temporary work visas for skilled IT professionals and India is the largest user of both H1B and L1 visas.

India has time and again raised its concerns over the US visa regime. Indian IT industry earns about 60 per cent of their revenue from the North America. The bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 64.2 billion in 2014-15.

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