Obama Visits India In November And US Wants To Improve Ties With India

12 Aug 2010


Obama administration has initiated talks with leaders at the Capitol Hill and business community on hiking H-1B and L-1visa fees. This has been initiated after growing resentment among Indian IT firms over US. The Indian IT companies are concerned due to the visa fees hike because $250 million has to be spent annually on visa cost.

President Barack Obama is set to visit India in November and the US is keen not let the issue impact the economic ties with India.

But there is no unanimity within the administration on the issue, officials privy to the discussion said.

"This is an issue that we have had conversations with leaders on the Hill about. We have also had conversations across the government and we are listening to the concerns that business leaders have indicated and will be continuing our dialogue on this issue," state department spokesman P J Crowley said.

The proposed increase in visa application fee by at least $2,000 for next five years would raise nearly $550 million out of $650 million that have been allocated for increasing the security of the US-Mexico border. The fees increase applies to companies with more than 50 employees and for whom the majority of their workforce is visa-holding foreign workers.

A summary of a Senate version of the bill named Indian firms Wipro, Tata, Infosys and Satyam, which use hundreds of these visas for their employees coming to the United States to work at their clients' locations as technicians and engineers.

A senior Obama administration official noted that this is "not a done deal yet" and the government is looking at it in depth to resolve the issue by talking with the leaders of the Congress, the business community and those within the government.


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