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Nikki Haley takes stand against hike of H-1B, L-1 visa fees


Nikki Haley participates in a panel discussion during the Republican Governors Association

Nikki Haley participates in a panel discussion during the Republican Governors Association

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India for years has attempted to pressure the U.S. to curb the hiking H-1B and L-1 visa fees. The country’s efforts have begun resonating with key figures inside of the Obama administration, and even those who are members of the GOP.

Vinai Thummalapally, former classmate and close friend of President Obama, was selected in 2011 by the president to setup SelectUSA, a program which sought to attract foreign investment into the U.S. and also endorsed India’s stance on labor and visa issues.

Thummalapally said while India represents the fourth fastest-growing FDI, or foreign direct investment, for the U.S., there are several more hurdles to jump over for Indian companies looking to invest in the country because of the H-1B issues. “This is a huge issue for us. What we do is we actually communicate this to the White House and this is a big concern for the Indian companies,” Thummalapally said. “Of the top 18 companies in IT services about 15-16 are Indian companies including Wipro, Tatas and Infosys. They have been impacted by the rule.”

He added that U.S. affiliates of Indian-owned companies currently employed 45,100 employees in the U.S. in 2013 and contributed $1.5 billion to the country’s exporting market.

In March, India initiated a WTO dispute against the U.S. regarding measures that would impose increased fees on certain H-1B and L-1/L-2 visa candidates. The measures appear to be inconsistent with US commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, Indian officials said in their complaint.


Republican governor of South Carolina and Indian-American Nikki Haley has come out in support of he Indian argument. Haley has been speculated by many to be a possible vice president candidate in the upcoming general election.

“We have so many Indian students that come here and go to our universities and what kills me is the fact that they are trained, they are talented and then they get sent back. There’s a lot of talent in India and that talent when they come here and they get educated here, it’s the first talent we want to see be able to join our forces and work for our companies,” Haley said.

Additionally, foreign direct investment growth decreased by more than half in the U.S. — $106.6 billion in 2014, down from $211.5 billion in 2013.

“There is a huge dichotomy in US’ trade policies, which is increasingly becoming protectionist while trying to attract more investment. This has led to US share of global FDI falling from 45 percent in 1984 to 12 percent in 2012. India is a huge untapped market for US and H1B visa issue has had a huge negative impact of trade,” said Marek Gootman, director, strategic partnerships and global initiatives at Washington D.C. based think tank Brookings Institute.

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