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American Inc flays move to raise visa fee for IT pros

Last updated on: August 11, 2010 16:20 IST

American Inc flays move to raise visa fee for IT pros

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The American corporate sector has flayed the US government's move to increase visa fees for IT professionals, saying the bill is "discriminatory" against foreign companies and would undermine investment relations with India.

"This legislation seeks to raise revenue for broader border security by taxing mostly Indian companies that are investing heavily in our country," the US-India Business Council president, Ron Somers, said.

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the bill that would steeply hike H-1B and L-1 visa fees to fund America's border protection measures with Mexico, which has been a source of a large number of illegal migrations.

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Image: Ron Somers.

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"It is unfortunate that the Congress passed a bill that not only links India to border security with Mexico, but also does not take into account the terrible economic impact this will have for the United States," Somers said.

"The Bill imposes substantial and discriminatory fee increases on global information services companies that utilise temporary, non-immigrant visas (H-1 and L-1) to bring in skilled professionals to serve US companies," he said.

The USIBC, which represents the strong American corporate sector that does business with India, said that the bill, Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, is deliberately targeted at foreign companies, including major Indian multinationals, and will severely undermine business and investment relations with India.

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Image: Visa fee hike discriminatory.
Photographs: Reuters.
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The chamber asked the Congress to oppose the funding methods of new legislation.

"We urge the Congress and the Obama Administration to amend this new funding method for border security and any policies that would harm Americas economic interest and undermine the burgeoning economic, trade and strategic relationship with India," Somers said.

India's Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had also expressed concern over the bill saying the new legislation will have an (estimated) additional cost implication of over $200 million annually and an adverse impact on the competitiveness and commercial interests of Indian companies.


Image: New US bill to hit India cos.

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