India today conveyed its concern to the US over the increasing number of rejections of the H1B visa applications of professionals, especially in the IT sector, who need these permits for execution of temporary onsite contracts.

The point was highlighted by visiting Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, at the CEOs Forum here.

He said, “Uptake of H1B visas this year has been less than half of the annual prescribed limit and the rejection rates have gone up.”

Underscoring the importance of free movement of professionals, he also asked for early signing of the India-US Totalisation Agreement.

Under the pact, an expatriate in either country need not contribute to social security schemes of the host country.

The forum comprises top CEOs from both sides and is co-chaired by the Tata Group Chairman, Mr Ratan Tata, on the Indian side and Honeywell Corporation CEO, Mr David M. Cote, from the US.

Referring to simplification of procedures for investing in India, Mr Sharma said all the policy norms have been consolidated into a single document.

He assured the CEOs that India is committed to continuous improvement of its business and investment environment.

The Minister also invited US investors to establish National Investment and Manufacturing Zones and urged the CEO forum to suggest global best practices for the proposed townships.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with US Trade Representative, Mr Ron Kirk, Sharma discussed ways to strengthen the growing bilateral trade and investment relationship, including through more active engagement under the US-India Trade Policy Forum.

(This article was published on September 23, 2011)
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