The much talked-about meeting between PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump is now finally over. And, contrary to expectations, the crucial H1B visa issue failed to find mention in the Modi-Trump talks.
Noteworthy, the issue was looming on the Indo-US relationship in the run up to PM Modi’s maiden meeting with the US President. However, the issue held centrestage ahead of Modi’s US visit and widely expected to figure prominently in bilateral discussions as the Trump administration was undertaking a review of the H1B visa, the most sought-after by Indian IT professionals. There have been growing concerns in India over the crackdown on H1B visas in the wake of layoffs by the IT sector companies.
Trump signed an executive order in April for tightening the rules of the H1B 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.
However, the H1B issue specifically did not figure in the talks with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar telling reporters that there was a lot of discussion with business leaders and the two leaders about the digital partnership when asked about whether H1B visa issue figured in the talks.
The White House, in a fact sheet, said Indian-Americans have embraced innovation and entrepreneurship, sitting at the forefront of Silicon Valley’s technology revolution, and founding an estimated 15 per cent of Silicon Valley startups.
Today, nearly four million Indian-Americans reside in the United States and over 700,000 US citizens live in India. Last year, the United States government issued nearly one million visas to Indian citizens, and facilitated 1.7 million visits by Indian citizens to the United States.