India Inc. to raise H-1B visa issue in US


New Delhi : A group of corporate India leaders, currently visiting the US to promote Indo-US trade, is likely to raise the controversial issue of H-1B visa facility at meetings with high-profile politicians and businessmen, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said Tuesday.

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Last month, two US senators had queried nine Indian IT companies on allegations of misuse of the H-1B visa programme, a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to seek temporary help from skilled foreigners.

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the Indian lobby group, wrote to the two Senators – Chuck Grassley and Richard Durbin – saying H-1B visas are beneficial to both US and Indian companies, as well as the US economy.

The business delegation, led by telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal, is expected to meet prominent American political leaders, such as senator Hillary Clinton, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nick Burns, Under Secretary Frank Lavin and Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns, said a CII release.

The team is also expected to discuss banking licences and other trade-related issues.

The Indian business leaders, who are visiting under the aegis of CII, have already met with leading US corporate leaders such as Michael Duke, vice chairman, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

They are also expected to take part in a high-powered business panel discussion. The panel will include CEOs from top US companies McGraw-Hill, Honeywell International Inc, CIGNA Corporation, Liberty Mutual Group, Fannie Mae, Caterpillar Inc, Weyerhaeuser Company, Con-way Incorporated and Solectron Corporation.

The other members of the Indian team are: Hari S. Bhartia, co-chairman and managing director of Jubilant Organosys Ltd., C.K. Birla, chairman of Hindustan Motors, Tarun Das, chief mentor of CII, Atul Punj, chairman of Punj Lloyd, Analjit Singh, chairman of Max India and Suhel Seth, managing director of Counselage India.