Jaitley urges US to reform H1-B/L1 visa processes

13 October, Washington

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has made a strong case for reforms in the H1-B/L1 visa processes during bilateral talks with senior US administration officials, even as he underlined the need to understand the global spillovers of domestic policy actions at a meeting here with G-20 Finance Ministers.

“Jaitley made a strong case for reforms in H1-B/L1 visa processes and social security contribution so that high calibre Indian professionals serving American interests are not unfairly deprived of their well-earned money,” the Indian Finance Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

“He also highlighted the contribution skilled Indian professionals have made to the US economy and said that this must be suitably appreciated by the US side.”

The Finance Minister is on a one-week official tour to Washington DC to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel and Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg.

On the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF Meetings, Jaitley held bilateral meetings with the US Treasury Secretary and the US Commerce Secretary here on Thursday and discussed Indo-US economic cooperation, in particular how bilateral trade and investment can be improved between the two countries.

The Finance Minister highlighted the structural reforms India has undertaken through a series of bold measures, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), financial inclusion and action against the shadow economy, the statement said.

While addressing the G-20 Finance Ministers and central bank Governors meeting here earlier on Thursday, Jaitley underlined the need to understand the global spillovers of domestic policy actions, especially in the area of trade and financial regulations.

“It is important to understand the global spill-overs of domestic policy actions of individual member countries especially on matters related to trade and financial regulation,” he said.

Jaitley’s remarks come in the context of developments last year like the election of US President Donald Trump and Britain voting to exit from the European Union, all of which reflect increasing protectionist tendencies in the developed world.

Also on Thursday, at an interactive seminar here organised by industry chamber Ficci, he said the slowdown effect of demonetisation and GST roll-out on the Indian economy has played out and the country’s growth is now headed towards being more balanced and sustainable.

“The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 and its gradual complete transition, follow-up to demonetisation and enacting other structural reforms by the government would take the economy towards a higher growth trajectory,” he said.

He also said that foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have increased in 2016-17 over 2015-16, indicating improved global confidence in the Indian economy.

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