Mamata raises concerns over H-1B visas

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday raised concerns over the issue of H-1B US visas and called for protection to IT companies and professionals.

“News about H-1B visas is concerning. We must protect our IT companies and professionals and give them full support,” she said in a tweet.

Banerjee also said “India is proud of the world-class talent of its IT techies. It is our duty to secure their interests”.

The central government has already conveyed its concern to the US over a bill being introduced in the US Congress to change rules on H-1B visas which is likely to impact the Indian IT industry and Indian techies working in the US.

“We pledge our solidarity with our IT professionals in the US. IT professionals are our pride and inspiration. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters,” she added.

The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017, introduced in the House of Representatives by California Congressman Zoe Lofgren, proposes doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000 from the current minimum wage of $60,000 – a move that could impact Indian techies.

The bill would make it difficult for companies to use the programme to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India, with lower wages.

“India’s interests and concerns have been conveyed both to the US administration and the US Congress at senior levels,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said.