S. Jaishankar. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Nov 21 : Indians today account for 93 per cent of the total number of visas under H4 visa category, which is meant work permit for the spouses, in the US, said External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The member KJ Alphons has asked the Chair whether there has been a move by the US government to prevent spouses of H-1B visa holders from working, which affects something like half-a-million spouses.

To this, Jaishankar said that the ability of spouses to work was introduced in 2015 and this category of visa is called H4 visa and interestingly Indians today account for 93 per cent of the total number of visas issued in this category.

"There was some controversy whether this programme would be continued but right now, the programme is continued. There is a court order to the effect that it should be continued but the Trump Administration has indicated that it may review it at some point of time," Jaishankar said.

In the House, the Congress member Syed Nasir Hussain asked whether US government has disqualified seven Indian IT companies from applying for H-1B visas? The External Affair Minister said there is no such thing. With regard to the seven major Indian employers, there is no disqualification on any of them, he said.

Jaishankar explained that the number of visas for which they have applied to has come down in the last few years. "Denial rates have also gone up. But, denial rates have not gone up only for the Indian companies; denial rates have gone up for all companies," he explained.

So, as far as these seven companies are concerned, even last year, they got 3,828 new visas, and 15,230 renewal of H-1B visas.

Replying to Swapan Dasgupta on what is the position which India normally takes with regard to work visas and emigration of Indians to overseas for work purposes, the minister said that India is constantly in touch with the US system, the US government and Members of the Congress to persuade them and to convince them that tapping into the Indian talent pool is to mutual benefit.

"In that, I think, we have been successful in large measure. Actually, if you look at the numbers, the number of H-1B visas has been going up in the last few years and the total rejection rate has been coming down," he said.

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