Washington: Though India has stressed on gains from a liberal H-1B visa regime, New Delhi has said that granting of such visas was the sovereign right of the US.
“This (H-1B) is not an issue that India and the US negotiate or discuss. This is not part of a bilateral agenda and it can’t be by definition,” Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said at the end of his visit here for a first dialogue with the new US officials under President Barack Obama’s administration.
“H-1B visas were mentioned; yes in the conversations. We discussed the situation. We were told what the present policy is and we spoke about it. The rest is for the US to decide about what to do about it. Issue of US visas is America’s sovereign function,” he said.
Menon was asked about the restrictions imposed on H-1B visa holders in the stimulus package. “It is not for us to tell the US what their policy is going to be or vice versa. But when it effects our nationals, we mention to them what we think about it.”
Responding to another question, Menon said there is an issue of free movement of person, and it’s an issue which is being discussed consistently.
“It’s a discussion between partners and it is their (US) decision. This would be true whether we change our immigration regime, or whether they do it,” he said.