More Indian IT professionals are welcome, says EU

RSTV Bureau

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At a time when the Indian Inc. stares apprehensions over the potential curbs on H1B visas in United States under Trump regime, the European Union said it is ready to accommodate more Indian IT professionals. The powerful European bloc also denounced any form of protectionism in global trade.

Criticising the new US government’s protectionist rhetoric which triggered fears in Europe as well, head of EU delegation, on a visit here, David McAllister said Europe is open for allowing more Indian professionals who are high on demand.

“Europe is open for people with high demand. Indian people are highly skilled. Our IT sector would not have been successful if we did not have skilled professionals from India,” he said in New Delhi.

Soon after taking over last month, Trump had decided to overhaul the work visa programmes like the H-1B and L1, a move that is seen as adversely hitting the lifeline of Indian tech firms and professionals in the US.

The delegation also pushed for deeper trade ties with and expressed regret over the failure by both sides to resume the stalled dialogue to firm the long-pending EU-India trade and investment pact.

“We deeply regret that we are not being able to move ahead. We will use the visit to call for resumption of talks for the agreement,” he told reporters.

The EU delegation, the second one here, will hold talks with a number of Union Ministers, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the Vice Chairman of NITI Ayog Arvind Panagariya and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan among others.

The Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) talks have been stalled since May 2013, when both sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for IT sector. Launched in June 2007, negotiations for the proposed agreement have witnessed many hurdles as both the sides have major differences on crucial issues.

The two sides are yet to iron out issues related to tariff and movement of professionals but the EU has shown an inclination to restart talks.

(With inputs from the PTI)