NEW YORK (TIP): India continues to get the “lion’s share” of the H-1B visas from the US government despite the fee hike, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.
“India continues to receive the lion’s share of H-1B and L1 and even after the fee increase, they continue to get 70 per cent of those H-1B visas,” Verma said on the sidelines of ‘The Future is Now: From COP21 to Reality’ conference in New Delhi.
“We understand the concern about the fee hike. I think there is an ongoing conversation. We also know this is an important part of travel and commercial enterprise in the US. And again, there is an increase in the number of visas issued, in fact, there is a slight increase,” he added.
The US, under the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, has imposed a special fee of USD 4,000 on certain categories of H-1B visas and USD 4,500 on L1 visas.
Almost all Indian IT companies would be paying between USD 8,000 and USD 10,000 per H-1B visa as per the hike. According to Nasscom, this is expected to have an impact of about USD 400 million annually on India’s technology sector.
Earlier in his speech, Verma said the ongoing deforestation and poor land management is responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as each day, greenhouse gases emitted by human activities trap the same amount of heat energy as would be released by 400,000 atomic bombs.
“Climate change is not just an environmental challenge; it is a national security issue. Changes in climate could potentially damage critical infrastructure, create shortages of food and water, and lead to mass migrations and disease outbreaks.
“Receding ice sheets in the Arctic and the opening of new sea passages raise concerns about maritime security and freedom of navigation,” he said. According to Verma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 175 GW target for renewable energy deployments is among the most ambitious in the world and the US has done a great deal to support this effort.
Through the US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, or PACE, nearly USD 2.5 billion have been mobilized for clean energy projects in India and another USD 1.4 billion in climate finance for solar projects was announced during the Prime Minister’s visit to the US.
“India’s success is critical to global success and I firmly believe, clean energy will be one of the biggest growth opportunities in the years ahead. Between now and 2035, investment in the global energy sector is expected to reach nearly USD 17 trillion. That’s more than the entire GDP of China and India combined,” Verma said.
The US is actively supporting India’s solar targets through the Government of India-led International Solar Alliance and bilateral initiatives, such as rooftop solar cooperation and solar resource mapping, he said.