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New Delhi, April 11, 2020
India has requested the administration of US President Donald Trump to extend the H-1B and other visas of Indian citizens till the global coronavirus pandemic was not over.
Official sources told IANS that New Delhi requested Washington after some news reports claimed that the US government has been asking employers to terminate services of H1B visa holders.
"Though there is no such order or instruction from the US government, we have asked them to retain the employees under the H1B visa. Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla in his telephone conversation with the US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Beigun took up this issue," an official in New Delhi said.
There are over 300,000 Indians working in the US on H1B visa.
If the employer terminates the contract of an H1B holder employee in the US, the latter needs to find new employment within 60 days to retain his or her H1B status.
Given the lockdown and restrictions on movement in view of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 18,777 people and infected 501,609 others so far in the US, most employees were unable to go to work.
Because of the lockdown in both the countries, it was also logistically impossible for anyone to return to India at this point.
Sources said the government has been in touch with the US authorities requesting them to extend the validity of H1B and other types of visas for Indian nationals who are stranded in the US due to the pandemic.
"We are closely monitoring related developments," an official said.