Indian professionals welcome, says US

Washington: With India threatening to drag the US to the WTO against its discriminatory visa fee hike,a senior state department official has said professional Indians are welcome in America. "We understand that the demand (for professional visas) is even greater. We`re working through those issues. But we continue to fully support the admission of qualified Indians under these programs," spokesperson of the US State Department Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday.

She said Indians are the greatest beneficiaries of both L-1 visa and B-1/H-1 visa programmes of America. India has warned that it proposes to seek consultations with the US under WTO rules against the latter`s visa fee hike, which discriminates Indian software companies against American firms.

"I`ve heard that there is something out there, but I haven`t heard that there is an affirmative decision by the Indian government on this front. We did have a good and thorough discussion, in the context of the Secretary`s visit there, of these visa issues," Nuland added. Meanwhile in India, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said in Parliament that the government is in dialogue with the US and Canada for facilitation of movement of people, professionals and business travellers.