New Delhi: Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday urged the US to take into account India’s views as Washington looks to tighten procedures such as the granting of H-1B visas to restrict immigration.

“We have already communicated to the US that it is a reality that Indian companies in the US have contributed significantly to the US economy," Prabhu told the American Chambers of Commerce in New Delhi.

“Also, the IT professionals (from India) working in the US have added to the US economy’s productivity. The US must understand India’s concerns," he said.

The minister’s comments come amid plans by the Trump administration to end work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders, a move that could have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians. There have also been reports of proposed legislation pending in the US Congress seeking to limit the number of H-1B visas.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The restrictions on visa categories like H-1B follow US President Donald Trump’s election promises to prioritize US jobs for Americans. Trump has also promised to take punitive action against countries that impose trade barriers against US goods and maintain a trade surplus with the US.

According to Prabhu, “in trade matters, we have communicated that India is an open economy and is becoming even more open with the FDI (foreign direct investment) regime becoming more participatory and all pervasive. US companies have benefited from this. Also, Indian companies investing in the US will be creating more jobs there. India buying more air planes from the US will also aid the US economy."

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