US visa hike could affect economic ties: India

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S M Krishna
New Delhi, Aug 27: The hike in visa fees for foreign skilled workers to United States could affect its wide-ranging in economic relationship with India, parliament was informed Thursday, Aug 26.

"The government has expressed its strong concerns at the legislation, stating that such steps by the US government adversely affect the Indian software industries interest in the USA and impact the broader bilateral economic relationship," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He admitted that while the provision is not country-specific, it would disproportionately "affect Indian software companies adversely as a large number of H1B and L visas are availed by them".

US President Barack Obama on Aug 13 signed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which will raise funds for border security by increasing the visa fees for foreigners under H1B and L category.

Krishna said that , the Indian Embassy in Washington had taken the matter with the US administration and discussed with the US ambassador,Timothy Roemer.

"It has been conveyed that the legislation would primarily impact companies of Indian origin and is seen as a discriminatory and protectionist measure," said Krishna.

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