H1B visas: PM Modi appeals US to keep its mind open

Earlier, it had been believed that Trump's administration might be beneficial for India, but Trump's isolationist rhetoric and hostility to free trade now seems to hurt India's hi-tech and outsourcing industry.

H1B visas: PM Modi appeals US to keep its mind open

Amid the increasing "America First" rhetoric on jobs by Trump administration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the United States on Tuesday to keep an open mind on admitting skilled Indian workers.

Modi's comments mirror India's concern about $150 billion IT service industry, which would suffer if the United States curbs the visas, known as H-1B, it relies on to send its software experts to the United States on project work.


"The prime minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society," Modi's office said in a statement after he met a bipartisan delegation of 26 members of the US Congress.

"He urged developing a reflective, balanced and far-sighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals."

Notably, Indians are the largest group of recipients of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued each year to new applicants under a cap mandated by Congress. Exemptions on the H-1B cap are available up to 20,000 further applicants who have obtained a US master's degree.

The actual number of Indian nationals working in the United States under the H-1B programme is significantly higher, however, because many visas are rolled over.

Earlier, it had been believed that Trump's administration might be beneficial for India, but Trump's isolationist rhetoric and hostility to free trade now seems to hurt India's hi-tech and outsourcing industry.