India is continuously in touch with the US government on various visa issues, which is affecting the freedom of movement of Indian skilled workers, including the H1B visa programme, said VK Singh, minister of state for external affairs, on 20 July.
As apprehensions continue to mount on change in the visa policies of the US under the Trump administration, the minister said in a written response to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha that the US Congress has six bills that relate to H1-B and L-1 visa programmes.
Singh was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying that the bills were awaiting reforms on various provisions pertaining to the grant of H1-B and L-1 visas. Until now, none of the bills, however, have been passed and no comprehensive policy overhauls have been carried out, he said.
That these bills were introduced in the US Congress has raised fears, particularly in Indian tech sector, which is the major beneficiary of H1-B visas. Assuring that the government is constantly in touch with the US Congress and the US administration with regard to these issues, Singh said that India gives top precedence to safety and protection of people of Indian origin living abroad.
Responding to another question, he stated that India had signed SSAs (Social Security Agreements) with 18 countries. Singh added that workers covered under different SSAs are issued a CoC (Certificate of Coverage) by EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organisation) which lets them off from making social security contribution in the overseas country they are staying in.
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