Modi-Trump meet: American side ready to respond if India raises H-1B visa issue

Washington: The Trump administration has said that if the Indian side raises the contentious H-1B visa issue during President Donald Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Americans were ready to respond.

“On the (H-1B) visas issue, there are no plans for that to come up specifically,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of the Modi-Trump meeting at the White House on Monday. But if raised by the Indian side, the Americans are ready for it, the official said.

“But if it’s raised, I would just note that the administration has signed some executive orders related to work and immigration, and President Trump’s executive order on H1-B visas, of course, directs the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security to propose potential reforms to the H1B visa program,” the official said.

However, there have been no immediate changes to visa application or issuance procedures, so the administration was not in a position to kind of prejudge what the outcome of the review might be, the official said.

“So there’s really been no changes as such at this point, and no specific changes that target any specific country or sector as of yet,” said the senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

His remarks come amid growing concerns in India over the crackdown on H-1B visas, the most sought-after by Indian IT professionals.

Trump signed an executive order in April for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop “visa abuses”. Trump said his administration is going to enforce ‘Hire American’ rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US.

The executive order also called upon the Departments of Labour, Justice, Homeland Security, and the state to take action against fraud and abuse of the US’ visa programmes.

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