BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sent out a clear message to American President Donald Trump to shun protectionism and not restrict the entry of skilled Indian professionals into the United States.
Modi told a delegation of 26 members of the American Congress that Indian professionals had contributed to enriching the US society and economy.
He said the US should develop a “balanced and far-sighted perspective” on movement of skilled professionals, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
His comment came amid speculation that Trump’s “America First” policy on protecting jobs and his moves to curb immigration might hit India’s $150-billion Information Technology services industry.
Modi shared with the US Congressmen his “perspective on areas where both countries could work even more closely, including in facilitating greater people-to-people linkages.”
These, the PMO statement said, had over the years helped contribute to each other’s prosperity. The prime minister welcomed the American Congressmen’s visit and said it augured a good start to bilateral exchanges following the new US administration.
The Trump administration’s early move to bring in tough anti-immigrant measures triggered uproar within America. India, however, is particularly concerned about the fate of its IT professionals currently working in the US on H-1B visas.
New Delhi is closely monitoring not only the executive orders issued by the Trump Administration to restrict entry of immigrants into the US, but also the legislative moves in the American Congress to bring in protectionist measures.
A Bill sponsored by California Republican Representative Darrell Issa is now under review of the American House of Representatives.
The Bill, known as Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, will require US companies to pay high-skilled foreign workers hired under the “exempt” category of the H-1B visa programme at least $100,000 a year, which is 40% more than the current minimum of $60,000. This will make it difficult for Indian IT companies to send professionals to the US on H-1B visas.