Washington: Industry body CII on Friday urged the US to reject provisions of the Comprehensive Immigration Bill related to H-1B visas, which it alleged are discriminatory in nature, target Indian companies and therefore, is against the spirit of the growing India-US strategic partnership.
"CII is of the opinion that the provisions on H1-B visas in particular would be against the interests of Indian companies, and create an unequal playing field for them. CII urges the US Congress to reject such discriminatory provisions," Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII said.
"Any such restrictions, including new ones, on non- immigrant visas, if adopted, should apply uniformly to all applicants. Action specifically targeting Indian companies would not be in accord with our growing strategic partnership," he said.
The CII statement came after the bipartisan group of eight Senators - called the Gang of Eight - introduced a Comprehensive Immigration Bill in the US Congress.
The Bill also spells out pathway to citizenship for some 11 million illegal immigrants, including some 3,00,000 Indians.
However, the provisions of the bill related to the conditions on issuing H-1B visas is being opposed by Indian companies, who heavily rely in this category of work visas.
During the negotiations period, CII had also made all efforts to bring to the notice of the 'Gang of Eight' its concerns about H-1B visas.
In a letter to the group last month, David J Delie, chairman of CII-India Business Forum, had expressed concerns about reports that suggest the Senate may be considering proposals that seek to put a flat ban on visas or place additional visa related restrictions on H-1B and L-1 visas based on companies' work force ratios.
"We are concerned that if enacted, such a provision would be against the interests of Indian companies, and create an unequal playing field for them. We would urge you to reject such discriminatory provisions," said the letter.
"We feel that any restrictions, including new ones, on non-immigrant visas, if adopted, should apply uniformly to all applicants. We feel that any action targeting Indian companies would not be in accord with our growing strategic partnership. It will also impact the deeper involvement of the Indian companies in the US economy," the CII said.
"The US is looked upon by many as the leader in free market economics. Our hope is that it will, through immigration reform, once again re-affirm the commitment to free trade and globalisation," Delie said in the letter to 'Gang of Eight'.
First Published: Friday, April 19, 2013, 12:19