Navtej Sarna

Washington–With a private member’s bill being introduced in the US Congress that seeks to fix the minimum salary of H1-B visa holders at $130,000, India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna has said this visa category has actually been crucial in making American companies globally competitive.

“You know, this H1-B scheme has been crucial in making US companies competitive globally, in increasing their client base, in increasing their innovations,” Sarna said in an interview to CNN on Monday.

“And it is the Indian tech industry which has been actually creating jobs here. There are reports, analyses by very respected houses which say that over 400,000 jobs have been directly and indirectly supported in the US,” he said.

The Ambassador pointed out that Indian tech companies have invested $2 billion in a four-year period and have paid $20 billion in taxes.

“Out of every 100 H1-B visas have resulted in support to 183 jobs in the US,” he said.

“So, it is again a win-win situation and this is very important because, you know, the US companies… nine out of the 15 top tech companies in India are American companies.”

Sarna said this relationship was a symbiotic one and has the “potential of becoming much stronger for both countries”.

Asked if he was trying to send across a message to new US President Donald Trump, he said: “I think this is information which needs to be out there.”

Silicon Valley Democrat Zoe Lofgren introduced the bill which pegs the minimum pay requirement for short-term work visas at $130,000 as against the current minimum of $60,000. And it suggests bar on jobs to the spouses of such visa holders.

Around 70 per cent of the H1-B visas issued by the US goes to Indians.