Tighter H-1B Visa Norms Aimed at Curbing Fraud: Shalabh Kumar
Regulations not a blanket punitive measure against Indian pros, says prominent Indian-American industrialist
New Delhi: US President Donald Trump's proposed executive order to tighten H-1B visa regulations is aimed at curbing fraud and is not a blanket punitive measure against Indian professionals, according to Shalabh Kumar, a prominent Indian-American industrialist who is close to Trump.
“Currently, there is lot of speculation about tough regulations for H-1B visas, which have benefitted Indian software professionals in the USA for years,” Kumar told ET on Friday over the phone from the US. “However, such changes in regulations can only come through Congressional action and this will take time.”
The remark comes amid reports that the Trump administration will introduce tough regulations for H-1B visas that might impact hundreds of Indian software professionals in the US. Kumar, who also chairman of Trump's Indian-American Advisory Council, has played a key role in shaping the president’s position on India from the campaign days.
“A very small percentage of the H-1B visa holders and their promoters are invol- ved in fraud. What the president is proposing to do is to enforce existing laws through his order. I guess that it is the fraudulent section which is making some noises over the executive order,” Kumar said. “The president wants to target this section which is involved in fraud. He is walking the talk and fulfilling his electoral promises.”
The industrialist, who is set to receive the Global Entrepreneurship Award from the Indian government, is hopeful of a bright future for the Indian software industry in the US despite the proposed executive order. “The Trump administration is aiming for an economic growth of 4.5%, and to achieve this goal there would be requirement of several IT professionals. This would give another push to India-US ties. Indian software giants would play a role in training local population to meet necessary requirements,” noted Kumar even as top Indian software firms prepared to head to the US to discuss the proposed H-1B visas regulations with the administration and other stakeholders there.
Kumar said Trump’s phone call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before he spoke with other leaders reflects the importance attached to ties with India.
“The two leaders have connected well even before they met. President Trump’s team is being put in place and it would take three months for the administration to settle down. The US president and Indian PM could meet after that,” he said.
Besides trade ties, counter-terror and defence partnership will be part of the Indo-US agenda, according Kumar. He, however, declined to comment on whether he will succeed Richard Verma as the US envoy to India. Kumar has played a role in establishing some links between the Indian government and the Trump team during the transition period after November 8.