India to US: Amend discriminatory border security bill
Washington, Aug.20 (ANI): India has reportedly asked the United States to amend controversial provisions of the recently signed Border Security Bill.
India's Ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, has lodged an official protest with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and the US Congress about the bill that was signed by President Barack Obama on August 4.
"We feel that the 'pay for' provisions of the Bill are not in keeping with the substantive cooperative agenda which the two governments are pursuing. We would ask that those provisions of the Bill that discriminate against companies of Indian origin may be suitably amended to create a level playing field for all companies," Ambassador Shankar reportedly said in her letter to Kirk.
The 'pay for' provisions of the Bill stipulates that the amount for the security of US-Mexico border would be provided through higher fees on H1B and L visas from those applicants who employ 50 and more people and 50 per cent of whom are non-immigrants in H-1B or L visa categories.
"Even though the Bill doesn't mention Indian companies specifically, the manner in which it is currently worded appears to be aimed at information technology companies from India, creating an unequal playing field," Shankar claimed.
"The impact on Indian companies of the higher fee increases would be substantial. While we appreciate and understand the US desire to strengthen border security, we have concerns about the proposed funding mechanism," she said.
Highlighting the importance of the US-India strategic partnership, Shankar said the: "Indian leadership is looking forward to a successful visit of the US President later this year. Indian Industry has played a constructive role in the US economy. Several Indian companies have invested billions of dollars in the US economy and have created thousands of jobs in the US. Bilateral trade creation, especially in high technology trade, including in Civil Aviation and Defense, is responsible for further job creation in the US economy."
The US Trade Representative's Office is yet to give its reply to the letter from the Indian envoy. (ANI)