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US Congressmen to visit India, discuss H1-B visa issue with IT Minister

New Delhi: An eight-member high-powered delegation led by US Congressman Bob Goodlatte will meet IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today to discuss issues like movement of skilled manpower and IP rights.

The meeting comes at a time when the new administration in the US, under President Donald Trump, is proposing an overhaul of the popular H-1B visa regime, raising concerns among Indian IT firms.

Industry association Nasscom met the delegation this afternoon.

“We have shared our views with them that Indian IT industry is a large contributor to job creation in the US and we bring skills in areas where there is a huge skill deficit,” Nasscom President, R Chandrashekhar told PTI.

Indian IT companies are heavily dependent on the US market that accounts for over 60 per cent of the sector’s exports, and any clampdown in the visa regime may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the USD 110 billion Indian outsourcing industry.

Goodlatte as Chairman of House Judiciary Committee, along with other members, play an important role in crafting policies around high-skilled immigration and intellectual property in the US Congress.

The Indian side is expected to highlight and share information on direct jobs being created by Indian IT firms in the US, and their contribution in making the American economy competitive.

The meeting is also of significant given that growth in the Indian IT sector has been slowing down amid multiple headwinds like changing technology landscape (automation and digitisation) and global events like Brexit, apart from proposed tightening of H-1B visa regime by the Trump administration in the US.

Industry body Nasscom, along with top industry leaders, are scheduled to meet lawmakers in the US later this week on concerns around clampdown on visas and flow of skilled manpower between the two nations.

Apart from the delegation, Microsoft’s India-born chief Satya Nadella is also scheduled to meet Prasad separately today.

PTI