Observing that people-to-people contacts and growing business linkages, especially in the technology and innovation sectors, are important aspects of expanding India-US strategic partnership, New Delhi’s top diplomat here has exuded confidence that Indian professionals will continue to be welcomed in America.
Combining India’s talent and strengths with the US capital and expertise in digital and IT space presents an ideal pathway for both the economies, India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjt Singh Sandhu told PTI in an interview.
“I am confident that Indian professionals will continue to be welcomed in the US,” he said.
People-to-people contacts and growing business linkages, especially in technology and innovation sectors, are important aspects of expanding India-US strategic partnership, he said, responding to a question on US policies on H-1B visas which has been impacting Indian companies in the US and also a large number of Indian IT professionals.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Ambassador Sandhu said: “We have been engaging with the US administration and other stakeholders on issues related to movement of Indian professionals, highlighting the importance of people-to-people linkages and the contribution of Indian skilled professionals to the growth and development of the US economy, especially in the technology and innovation sector.
“They have also been a critical component of the first responders providing COVID-19 related assistance in sectors such as health, information technology and financial services”.
Responding to another question, Sandhu said that owing to the public health requirements in the initial days of lockdown, some travel restrictions were placed which were relaxed gradually.
“Currently, there are no restrictions on travel to India for OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card holders. Over four million strong Indian-American community has been playing a critical role in crafting the India-US partnership.
“We deeply value their contribution and support in India’s development and further strengthening understanding and friendship between our two countries,” Sandhu added.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas in a year. It can also issue another 20,000 H-1B visas to foreign students who have completed higher studies from a US university in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.