India

India in touch with US on visa issue: govt

India in touch with US on visa issue: govt

New Delhi: India remains closely engaged with the US on issues related to the mobility of Indian skilled professionals, including the H-1B visa programme, the government today said, amid fears of a change in policy under the Trump administration.

In a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said the US Congress has six bills relating to H-1B and L-1 visa programmes.

“The bills seek to amend the various provisions related to the grant of H-1 and L-1 visas. However, so far none of these bills have been passed and no comprehensive policy changes have been made,” Singh said.

The introduction of these bills in the US Congress has raised concerns, especially in the Indian IT sector, which takes a chunk of these H1-B visas.

The minister assured that the government remains closely engaged with the US Congress and the US administration on this issue.

Singh added that India attaches highest priority to safety and security of the Indian diaspora abroad, including in the US, and remains engaged with the authorities.

In response to another question, Singh informed that India has signed Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with 18 countries.

“Employees covered under the various SSAs are issued a Certificate of Coverage (CoC) by Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) which exempts them from making social security contribution in the foreign country concerned,” he said.

—PTI