23 September 2010

Indian commerce minister raises US Visa fee issue with US Government

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, has told US Trade Representative Ron Kirk “protectionism kills growth and innovation” during the seventh ministerial session of the US-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in Washington, DC.

US Visa application

Minister Sharma raised the US Visa application fee increase with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk at a recent meeting.

Minister Sharma raised the US Visa application fee increase and offshoring ban by Ohio state with Representative Kirk, stressing that there was a need to provide greater avenues and cooperation between the two countries in the services sector.

“In order to ensure that we continue our high growth trajectories, we have to be strong to resist domestic calls and pressures to increase barriers to trade,” Minister Sharma said.

Recently, the US passed a law to increase the US Visa fee for H-1B and L1 categories by $2,000 and $2,250 respectively to pay for increased border security with Mexico.

Indians received about half of all H-1B and L-1 visas in 2009, and comprise most of the roughly 50 percent of all H-1B and L-1 recipients who work in computer-related occupations in the US.

In a second blow to Indian companies the state of Ohio banned offshore outsourcing of jobs by government departments.

According to the joint statement issued by the Indian embassy, both sides held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of issues, identifying areas for future constructive engagement between the two trading partners.

During the meeting both ministers discussed the recommendations of the five focus groups on agriculture, innovation and creativity, investment, services and tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, with Minister Sharma seeking greater cooperation between small and medium enterprises.

The meeting was also attended by Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar and Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their US Visa and immigration applications to the American Embassy.

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