US softens stand on L-1, H-1B visas
Washington: As India announced plans to take the issue of "discriminatory" increase in US visa fees to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Washington assured it continued to fully support the admission of qualified Indians.
The US and India "did have a good and thorough discussion" on the visa issues in the context of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to India, State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Wednesday.
As Clinton said it publicly "Indians are the greatest beneficiaries in the world of both our L-1 visa programme and our H-1B visa programme," she said when asked about India's reported move.
"We understand that the demand is even greater. We are working through those issues. But we continue to fully support the admission of qualified Indians under these programmes," Nuland said.
Under its Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010, US sharply hiked the fee for H-1B and L-1 visas used by Indian and American companies to bring qualified professionals from abroad and for intra-company transfers respectively.
Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya M. Scindia told parliament Wednesday that New Delhi "proposes to seek consultations with the US under the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the WTO."
Asked if the visa fees hike issue was discussed during the Clinton visit, Nuland said: "No."