Sushma Swaraj discusses Pakistan-Afghanistan with US Secretary of State

Sushma Swaraj discusses Pakistan-Afghanistan with US Secretary of State

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday raised issues related to H-1B visas and people of Indian origin with an uncertain immigration status in America in her first bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Ms. Swaraj “strongly raised the issue of H-1B visa and children falling under DACA policy with Secretary Tillerson,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar posted on Twitter. 

“The two Ministers discussed regional issues, with a focus on Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism. The two sides reviewed all aspects of the bilateral relationship, including expanding our trade and investment relations,” he said.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or (DACA) is a federal government protection created by former President Barack Obama for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. 

The programme gives them temporary right to live, study and work in America, for a period of two years and renewable on expiry. The Trump administration has announced a rollback of the programme, and nearly 8,000 Indians could be affected by it. 

The H-1B visa programme is being reviewed by the Trump administration and it was not clear what exactly were the concerns Ms. Swaraj raised with Mr. Tillerson. Even as the programme is under review, anecdotal evidence suggest unusual delays in the processing of visas at U.S consulates in India. 

No rules regarding it has changed after President Donald Trump took over, though administration officials have repeatedly said that the H-1B programme is being misused, and has even named some Indian companies in this context.