U.S. ready to address Indian concerns over visa fee hike

U.S. ready to address Indian concerns over visa fee hike

Monday, 27 June 2011, 11:50 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: The U.S. is ready to address Indian government's concerns on a host of trade and business issues, including the H-1B visa fee hike and social security equalization, a top official has said, ahead of the bilateral economic dialogue next week.

"Purpose of this (India-US economic) dialogue and discussion would be to make sure that we know the full set of concerns and if there are measures that we need to take on that side, we would work on them as well," Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs Lael Brainard said.

In her interaction with a group of Indian reporters ahead of next week's India-US Economic Dialogue, Brainard said her understanding is that in the area of H-1B visas, the country is the biggest -- 50 per cent more than any other nation - beneficiary of this.

The concern of India with regard to the visa fee, she argued, has not altered this figure in any way.

"But this is an area, where we would continue to look at because this is important to you," she said when asked about India's concerns in this regard.

"On social security equalisation, at the moment it is not clear how far we are going to proceed because the systems of the two countries are very different. But we certainly in principle are going to engage in discussions and would continue to do so to see whether there is more potential there," she said.

"I think, in general to the extent to the areas where there are two-way reforms that can be made we are obviously going to be very interested in hearing about them and figure out ways to proceed.

For instance, it could be quite beneficial to reinvigorate conversations, starting at a technical level, looking at the potential to concluding a bilateral investment treaty which has two-way obligations, Brainard said.
Source: PTI
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