Congress asks PM to protect jobs of H-1B visa holders

Published: Apr 10, 2020, 7:41 pm IST
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New Delhi: The Congress on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impress upon the US not to terminate the H1B visa of Indians living in the country.

Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that after compromising on ‘India First’ policy in the HCQ drug “climbdown”, the Modi government is again failing to secure the safety and livelihood of Indians in the US.

“The sword of H-1B visa job termination looms large on the heads of an estimated 75,000 Indians, with the United States giving them only a 60-day period to find a new job in case of a lay-off. There are 309,986 Indians working on H-1B visa in the USA, and given the COVID-19 lockdown in the two countries, it is logistically impossible for them to come back to India,” said Surjewala

The party said in a statement that when the COVID-19 pandemic was raising its ugly head in India, the government was holding public felicitation for the US President and his entourage.

“Time for the Prime Minister to ensure that our soft power of ‘Namaste Trump’ converts into fair treatment of H-1B visa holders in the United States,” said Surjewala.

“The US has put American citizens on temporary paid leave or allowed them to work for reduced hours in the wake of the virus; Indian H1B workers, on the contrary, will have to work for 40-hours per week on a payroll and be paid nothing less but the same am sount.”

The party said that 60,000 H-1B visas are generally granted to Indians each year which have already been on a steady decline for the last few years; where rejection rates have gone up as high as 53% for some top IT companies.

The economic slowdown is becoming more and more extreme during lockdown. The IT sector contributes nearly 8 per cent to the GDP, where the US accounts for two-third of the IT Services exports, the party noted.

Almost 3 lakh jobs, which have been one of the highest contributors to India’s growth, are at risk and the most affected would be the one, whose visa renewal is past due or would be in the coming months, it said.

“Most organizations are considering terminating the contract unless Modi government intervenes with the help of the Trump administration in finding a solution,” said Surjewala.