`New US immigration bill to benefit Indian skilled workers`

Last Updated: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 22:33

Washington: The Senate version of the comprehensive immigration bill would benefit Indian skilled workers in the US, the Obama Administration said on Friday.

"Over all the (Senate Immigration) bill and its provisions around H-1B visas would not only be good to the United States but also would be good for India as well," a senior administration official told reporters during a conference call ahead of US Vice President Joe Biden`s India trip.

"It`s true that some firms who have structured their workforce to rely heavily on H-1B employees would have to under the terms of the bill, look at certain aspect of their business model," the official said, in a way dismissing the concerns raised by the Indian government and Indian companies in this regard.

The group of India CEOs and Union ministers - P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma had raised the issue with their American counterparts when they were in Washington last week.

But the Obama Administration now it looks like is not convinced by their argument.

The bill was passed by the Senate recently and is backed by the White House.

"The Senate bill that has been the subject of discussion in India, has provisions that very much benefit Indian workers seeking employment in the United States. The bill will nearly triple the number of H-1B workers by a considerable amount," the official said.

"Since the largest share of H-1B workers is from India, we anticipate that the expansion of the program would certainly benefit many skilled Indian workers.

"In fact because of the Senate bill, which would so dramatically increase the ceiling of the H-1Bs, many more Indian university graduates, would be able to, if this bill became law, work on a temporary basis in the US, learning new skills which in some case would bring back to India," the official argued.

Responding to a question on Afghanistan, the senior official said from the US perspective, India is an essential partner in a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

"India`s role is characterised by a number of different features. One would be important role as a development partner and supporting economic development of Afghanistan, also supporting institutions of the Afghan State and facilitating commercial investment in the country," he said, adding India and the US closely consult on issues related to Afghanistan.

On the peace process, the official said the two countries share the views that Afghan lead process that results in a democratic peaceful stable Afghanistan is the core outcome that they are looking for.

"Indian role in that is an important one. India`s role is contributing to regional peace and stability," he said.

During his trip, Biden would convey to the Indian leaderships the US` view that the necessary outcome of any Afghan led process that involves the Taliban has to be breaking with al Qaeda, renouncing violence and abiding by the terms of the Afghan constitution.

"The US has been very clear on these necessary outcomes," he said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 22:32

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