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By Team Asianet Newsable | 12:33 PM March 20, 2017
Techies can relax, no major changes to H1B visas in 2017

Highlights

  • Proposed changes to the H1B visa have causes severe unrest in India's IT sector 
  • President Trump's plans would make it much harder for Indians to work in the US 
  • However, these plans seem to have been put on hold, at least for another year. 

The United States has conveyed to India that there is no significant change in the H1B visa regime, at least for 2017. So techies can relax - for now. 

The H1B visa is one of the standards visas used by companies to get talent from India to America. The many proposed changes to that visa have been the cause of severe unrest in the Indian Information & Technology sector over the past month. 


President Trump, elected on a virulent anti-immigration platform, unveiled a series of changes to the visa regime, which would have made it much, much harder for Indians to use the visa to work, and possibly even settle, in America. 


When the news broke, the stocks of IT companies tanked, and major restructuring looked on the cards. Those dire events have been stalled, at least for a year. 


The United States has conveyed to India that there is no significant change in the H1B visa regime, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. Sitharaman said in Lok Sabha that India is articulating its concerns regarding the visa policy vigorously with the new administration in the US.


However, the Minister said, there is no significant change in the H1B visa regime. 


"The fear, at least for 2017, is not proved to be correct. They (US authorities) are saying their current priority is to deal with the illegal immigrants," she said during Question Hour. 


Sitharaman said the issue was also taken up by the Commerce Minister recently with visiting Congressional delegation led by Bob Goodlatte and during the visit of Commerce Secretary and Foreign Secretary to the US during the first week of March 2017. 


The Minister said India's concerns on visa issues were articulated during the Strategic and Commerce Dialogue 2016 and Trade Policy Forum 2016 held in October 2016. She said India had decided to continue their engagement on visa issues and reiterated their shared resolve to facilitate the movement of professionals. 


Sitharaman said some industry bodies had raised concerns about visa policies of the US and these concerns were conveyed to the US authorities by the government. The Minister said the US monitors policies of 73 countries and India might be one of them. 


"But we don't recognise any monitoring by any countries. No unilateral policing is acceptable for India," she said.

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