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Don't Expect Changes In H-1B Visa Rules

Washington: A senior Republican Senator has said he does not expect US President Donald Trump to weaken the H-1B visa scheme, sought-after by Indian IT professionals, as the programme benefits Americans and the US economy.

Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that in his several meetings with Mr Trump, he had discussed the economic benefits of preserving and expanding H-1B visas programme, which is popular among Indian IT professionals.

Mr Hatch told 'Morning Consult', a media technology company, that his time with Mr Trump has convinced him that the President will take a pragmatic approach to H-1B visas. 

"Anything that creates jobs, anything that moves this economy forward. And I think he can put political feelings aside. And I expect him to, and I'll make sure he does," the Republican Senator from Utah said on Tuesday.

Mr Hatch is expected to roll out a tech-focused "Innovation Agenda for the 115th Congress," in which he is likely to push for an increase in the H-1B visa number.

H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas that allow American firms to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The tech companies depend on these visas to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.

He had made a similar effort in 2015 when he introduced a bill to raise the annual cap of H-1B visas to between 1,15,000 and 1,95,000, based on market conditions.

"While some have expressed some reservations about the impact of high-skilled immigration on American jobs, I believe we can and will be able to make a convincing case for reform. The data is on our side," said Mr Hatch who met Mr Trump some two weeks ago.

He said Mr Trump appears to recognise the importance of the high-skilled guest worker programme for overall job growth and economic productivity.

Mr Hatch exuded confidence that he can convince the President that the data on H-1B visas shows how the programme benefits American workers and the US economy, the report said.

India is one of the top sources for international workers in the American tech industry, accounting for a major chunk of all H-1B visas. And any move by Mr Trump, who has vowed to put an "America First" policy, will have an adverse impact in India.

Meanwhile, Indian IT industry body Nasscom had last week said the government sought detailed business data from the industry so that it could effectively take up their concerns over the US visa issue with the Donald Trump administration in the US. (PTI)

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