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India, US to hold talks on raise in working visa fee

India has said that move would impact Indian IT professionals

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: May 10 2016 12:32PM | Updated Date: May 10 2016 12:32PM

India, US to hold talks on raise in working visa fee

 India and the US will hold two-day mutual talks from Wednesday under the aegis of the WTO over latter’s move to impose high fees on temporary working visas. 

In March, India took US in WTO's dispute settlement body against the latter's steps imposing increased fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories. 
India has said that move would impact Indian IT professionals. 
"The government of India looks forward to the consultations with the US at the WTO, scheduled for May 11-12," the commerce ministry said in a statement. 
Statement said India hopes that US will constructively engage to address its concerns on recent US steps which impair the ability of both US-based Indian companies and Indian professionals to supply services in America. 
The L-1 and H-1B categories of non-immigrants, for which there has been a significant fee oncrease, correspond with categories of specialists and intra-corporate transferees, both of which are part of US' commitments under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services. 
These are also same categories that are most widely used by Indian service suppliers, especially in the IT sector, supplying services in the US, it said. 
While the US accounts for close to 60 per cent of software exports from India, Indian IT professionals have had a positive role in contributing to the competitiveness of the US economy, it said. 
The increasing volume of services trade has contributed to significant economic growth as well as creation of employment opportunities within the US, it added. 
"The situation therefore presents a win-win relationship for both nations. The US fee hike measures for the H-1B and L-1 categories are not only adversely affecting the competitiveness of India's services industry engaged in the US market, but also creating uncertainties for Indian service suppliers," the statement said.