Home / Industry / Infotech /  Narendra Modi to raise H-1B visa issue with Donald Trump during US visit

Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the US next week, seeking to convince President Donald Trump to continue the H-1B visa programme that has allowed Indian IT companies send skilled workers to the US and flourish.

Nasscom, the Indian IT industry’s trade body, said Modi will explain during the two-day visit how the H-1B visa programme has benefited both countries. “The IT industry has been key to American corporations’ innovations and competitiveness, and over three-quarters of the top 500 US companies use Indian IT services," said R. Chandrashekhar, Nasscom’s president. “The time to talk is now."

Trump began a crackdown on the H-1B visa programme that lets thousands of skilled Indian workers live and work in the US. The visa holders serve as critical staff for IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), Infosys Ltd, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and Wipro Ltd. The administration said in an order in April it would combat “fraud and abuse" within the H-1B visa programme, saying it favours foreign workers at the expense of American jobs. In India, IT companies have started to cut jobs, and workers are blaming Trump for the firings.

The US accounts for more than 60% of the $120 billion outsourcing industry. Outsourced IT services are a vital component of the Indian economy and the Trump administration’s US visa policy affect the $70 billion worth of annual outsourcing contracts that IT services companies gain from the US, according to Nasscom.

“We have shared our views and perspectives ahead of this high-level visit that both countries have enormously benefited from India’s IT industry and it is important to keep the channels open for growth of this bilateral economic partnership so that the sector continues to contribute to its full potential," Chandrashekhar said in an interview ahead of Modi’s US visit.

Protect US Workers, a labour advocacy group led by Sara Blackwell is planning to stage a protest outside the White House on 26 June, when Modi is scheduled to meet with Trump.

“The IT industry contributes in the high single digits to the country’s GDP and is a big employer with four million workers," said Chandrashekhar. “The visa issue cannot be taken lightly, compromised, discarded or stymied by the not-so-well-thought-through measures." Bloomberg

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