US and India talks about H-1B and L-1 visas postponed

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Talks between the US and India regarding H-1B and L-1 visas and trade issues have been postponed indefinitely. US officials said that the talks were being held at the wrong time. India is unlikely to agree to its number one priority; Increased market access for US firms to India's consumers.

"While considerable progress on developing the agenda for the TPF (trade policy forum) has been made, in view of the amount of preparatory work that remains to be done, the US and India have decided to postpone the TPF until later this year," said the office of the US Trade Representative in a statement. "The additional time will allow us to further develop the TPF agenda and related activities."

Indian officials have also claimed that rejection rates for applications by Indian IT professionals to work in the US on H-1B or L-1 visas are rising. According to data released by the US state department, there has been a decline in L-1 work visas awarded to Indians, despite an increase in L-1 visas issued to employees from other countries.

It is interesting to note that there are only a limited number of US H-1B visas available each year, but there are an unlimited number of US L-1 visas available. The H-1B visa program cap of 65,000 has already been met for fiscal year 2012. The fiscal year 2013 cap period starts in April 2012 for a start date of October 2012. Apart from the annual quota of 65,000, an additional 20,000 H1-B visas are available every year under the advanced degree exemption for those who have a Master's or higher degree. This visa cap for all types of H-1B visas was met on 22 November 2011. According to the US government, the US has increased H-1B visas issued to Indians by 24 percent between 2010 and 2011.

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