Modi urges US to take a balanced view on skilled workers

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 21 urged the United States to develop a “reflective, balanced and farsighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals.”

Modi’s comments come in the backdrop of proposals in the US for restrictions on short-term work visas for foreign skilled professionals.

The Prime Minister’s Office in a statement said a bi-partisan delegation of 26 members of the US Congress jointly called on Modi. The statement quoted Modi as saying: “It augurs a good start to bilateral exchanges following the new U.S. Administration and Congress.”

Modi recalled his positive conversation with President Donald Trump and the shared commitment to further strengthen ties that have grown deeper in the last two and a half years, it said, adding that in this regard,  Modi recognized Congress’ strong bipartisan support for the India-US partnership.  Modi also shared his perspective on areas where both countries can work even more closely, including in facilitating greater people-to-people linkages that have over the years helped contribute to each other’s prosperity. The Prime Minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society, the statement added.

Eight of the visiting American lawmakers had on February 20 discussed with the Commerce and Industry Ministry, issues including the proposed US work visa curbs that could impact the $110 billion Indian IT sector, as well as issues concerning intellectual property rights (IPRs) and market access of certain farm products. While India took up its IT sector’s concerns on the proposed restrictions on the US non-immigrant visas for foreign skilled workers, the American lawmakers led by Bob Goodlatte, chairman, Judiciary committee, House of Representatives raised concerns on IPR issues including the need to strengthen copyright norms and provisions to encourage & protect innovation, the sources said.

Speaking on the issue of the proposed US visa curbs, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of launch of a report by the United Nations that, “We have discussed in detail as to what the uncertainties are all about…business always flourishes in an environment of certainty and transparency. So even this visa related issue is an issue on which we would want to have an air of certainty and also transparency.” She said the bipartisan Congressmen said they are waiting for the new administration to fully settle down. “I hope as important Congressmen, they will play their role,” she said.

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