H-1B Visa Issue: U.S. Shouldn’t Obstruct Flow Of Talent From India, S Jaishankar Says
The United States should not obstruct the flow of talent from India as it is an important part of the economic cooperation and almost acts as a strategic bridge between the two countries, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, emphasising importance of H-1B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals, for bilateral ties.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Tech companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper hosted Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh for the second 2+2 dialogue in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
Thereafter, he and Singh made a courtesy call to U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. The Oval Office meeting with Trump lasted for over 30 minutes.
Jaishankar and Singh left the U.S. on Thursday.
The U.S. government has said it is planning to curb the distribution of H-1B visas to Indians. While the Trump administration is yet to decide on the matter, it could affect Indian IT professionals. India has been the only country that takes 70 percent of the 85,000 H-1B visas applied annually. The H-1B visa is crucial for the IT sector in India.
"The bottom line is this: that today if you look at the totality of our ties and we will look at where we have strong economic synergies, where we have strong technology promptings, these are really based on the flow of talent," Jaishankar said.
"To me, the flow of talent is not just to resolve matter. The flow of talent is part of our economic cooperation. It is in a sense almost strategic bridge between us.
“So, I cannot overstate the importance of the flow of talent for Indo-American ties. That was a point I make that look, this is important for you, it is important for us. It's important for the relationship. So let's work together to make sure this stays sort of open and vibrant and active," he said.