In the 14th India-US Trade Policy Forum held in New Delhi on Friday, India has made key requests to the United States, seeking simplified visa procedures for traders and investors and urging the permanent establishment of a system allowing eligible applicants to renew H-1B visas locally rather than returning to their home country. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal co-chaired the forum with the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
India emphasized concerns about the challenges faced by domestic businesses in obtaining timely US visas and urged the US to expedite the processing of visas. Specifically, the country called for the permanent implementation of the system allowing H-1B visa renewals within the US, as the pilot stamping for renewals has commenced on a trial basis.
The ministers acknowledged the significant contribution of professional and skilled workers, students, investors, and business visitors to bilateral economic and technological partnerships between India and the US. Minister Goyal highlighted the hurdles faced by Indian business visitors due to visa processing times and requested the US to enhance processing efficiency.
Additionally, India has sought treaty status from the US for E1 and E2 visas, which are vital for traders and investors. The request aims to include India among the treaty countries, similar to China, to facilitate easier and faster visa issuance.
The United States is set to launch a pilot program on January 29, 2024, allowing selected H-1B visa holders to renew their work permits within the US. The program is designed to accommodate up to 20,000 renewals and requires applicants to have received their original H-1B visas during specific periods at US consulates in Canada and India. The move is expected to address challenges and provide more flexibility for H-1B visa holders, benefiting U.S. industry partners who rely on skilled foreign workers.
India’s requests align with the ongoing efforts to enhance bilateral economic cooperation and facilitate smoother movement of professionals and business visitors between the two nations.