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India to take up visa fee hike issue with US

Top Indian IT companies in the US including Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam were hit by the higher charges.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 10, 2012, 01.44 AM IST
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Top Indian IT companies in the US including Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam were hit by the higher charges.
Top Indian IT companies in the US including Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam were hit by the higher charges.
NEW DELHI: Obama-I was not much of a help, but India thinks the re-elected US president is more likely to address its long-pending grievance of increased professional visa fees.

India will take up the issue when assistant US trade representative Demetrios Marantis meets top officials on Monday.

New Delhi is hopeful that with the elections behind it, the Obama regime will be in a better position to respond to its demand of lowering visa fees, and it may not have to approach the World Trade Organisation for redress.

"We have been trying to persuade the US for a long time to reverse the decision to increase professional visa fees that has hit our IT industry. We had thought of going to the WTO with our complaint a few months ago, but then we decided to wait for the elections to be over," a government official told ET.

Deputy USTR Marantis' visit is the right time to take up the issue again, the official added. The US had nearly doubled fees for both H1-B work permit and L-1 visas for companies with more than 50% foreign employees under a 2010 Bill to fund its border security programme.

Top Indian IT companies in the US including Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam were hit by the higher charges.

Since the new measure has affected mostly Indian companies, New Delhi has argued that it should be removed as it was discriminatory. India has, however, hesitated in going to the WTO as discrimination would be difficult to prove since the law did not specifically target a particular industry or country. Indian commerce secretary S R Rao is also likely to reiterate India's concerns about the increased rate of visa rejection for IT professionals.

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