‘US gives maximum visas to Indians, more than any other country’

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Wednesday that it provides maximum number of visas to Indians, more than any other nationality in the world. The 

claim comes amid rising concerns by Indian firms over American visa regime.

“India is the recipient of more visas than any other country in the world. 65-66% of all short-term visas that the US government issues are for Indian citizens,” US under secretary of commerce for international trade Stefan M Selig told reporters.

He said the US would continue to work with the Indian government to meet the demand for US visas and “I think we are making a lot of progress on it”.

Selig was replying to a question that Indian IT professionals have been hurt by the higher visas fees imposed after the US Border Security Act came into force and whether the US will allow to lapse the Act in September or reinforce it.

He is visiting New Delhi to hold discussions with commerce secretary Rita Teaotia for the forthcoming meeting of Strategic and Commercial Dialogue next month in Washington.

Time and again domestic IT industry has raised serious concerns over increasing number of visa applications by Indian IT companies being rejected by the US and hike in visa fees.

The US had substantially increased the fees for H1B and L1 categories of visas for applicants which employ more than 50 people in the US or have more than 50% of their employees admitted on non-immigrant visas (the 50:50 rule).

The hike is impacting the bottomline of the $60 billion Indian IT industry that sends many highly-skilled Indians to work there. The Indian IT sector earns more than half of its annual revenues from overseas markets, particularly the US.

On India’s IPR policy, he said this is in the best interest of India to meet its economic goals and objectives.

On concerns being raised by the Indian pharma industry that the US regulator is discriminating against it, he said: “I frankly have not heard those complaints in the US. The US has a open market where all companies, all countries compete freely and so I am surprised to hear that concern.”

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