Suspension of H-1B visas will affect movement of skilled Indians: MEA

Trump had said the suspension of work visas was to protect domestic workers of the US who had been impacted due to a contraction in the economy in the wake of the COVID-19

The US issues around 85,000 H-1B visas every year, and on an average, Indian professionals get about 60,000 of these.

US President Donald Trump’s proclamation to block the entry of foreign workers for the rest of the year on H-1B visas for skilled employees, and L visas, for managers and specialized workers being transferred within a company, will affect the movement of skilled Indian professionals, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday (June 25).

“We have seen the Proclamation issued by President Trump on June 22 temporarily suspending entry of certain categories of non-immigrant visa-holders & their family members till December 31, 2020”, Anurag Srivastava, the official spokesperson, MEA said.

“This is likely to affect the movement of Indian skilled professionals who avail of these non-immigrant visas to work in the US,” Srivastava added.

Underscoring that people-to-people linkages, trade and economic cooperation, especially in technology and innovation sectors, are an important dimension of the US-India partnership, the MEA during an online media briefing said that they are assessing the impact of the order on Indian nationals and industry in consultation with stakeholders.

Related news: Lawmakers introduce H-1B bill in Congress to give priority to US-educated youth

MEA also added that high-skilled Indian professionals bring important skill sets, bridge technological gaps and impart a competitive edge to the US economy and therefore the USA will rethink the decision.

“The US has always welcomed talent and we hope our professionals will continue to be welcomed in the USA in the future,” he said.

Defending the move, Trump had said that it was to protect domestic workers of the US who had been impacted due to a contraction in the economy in the wake of the COVID-19.

The US issues around 85,000 H-1B visas every year, and on an average, Indian professionals get about 60,000 of these.

The sources said that since the restriction is for six months, the number of visas that would be impacted in the best case would be 30,000.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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