Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi must raise the H-1B visa issue besides defence cooperation and terrorism during his first bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump, members of the Indian community said.
PM Modi, who arrived in the US capital today, was welcomed with loud cheers and applause by a group of Indians who were waiting outside the Willard InterContinental Hotel to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.
Mridula, who is from Hyderabad and is working in New York on an H1-B visa, said they hoped the Indian Prime Minister would raise concerns over the H1B visas with Trump.
"We hope that the outcome on the issue is positive for Indians and at the same time does not anger Americans as well. It is scary when we hear reports of attacks against Indians in the US," she told news agency PTI.
PM Modi "is a very powerful leader and I am sure something very positive on the H1-B visa is going to come out of his meeting with Trump", she said.
Avinash Bilugu, another H1-B visa holder working in Albany, said, "Besides defence and security, H-1B is an important issue for us. I hope PM Modi brings it up in his meeting with Trump."
Aatma Singh, chair of the fundraiser committee of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), listed terrorism and cyber crime as key issues for the bilateral talks.
On H1-B visas, he said, the IT industry in the US will be incomplete without the contribution and hard work of Indian workers.
"India and the US share historic ties and the meeting between Modi and Trump will lay the groundwork for further strengthening bilateral relations in the years and decades to come," he said.
Trump will host PM Modi at the White House tomorrow and the two leaders would spend about six hours together in various settings beginning with their bilateral discussion, delegation-level talks, a reception and a working dinner.
Ahead of his visit, PM Modi had said that he looked forward to the opportunity of having an in-depth exchange of views. The Trump administration has said that if the Indian side raises the contentious H-1B visa issue during President Trump's meeting with Modi, the Americans were ready to respond.
Trump signed an executive order in April for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop "visa abuses".
Trump said his administration is going to enforce 'Hire American' rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US.
The executive order also called upon the Departments of Labour, Justice, Homeland Security, and the state to take action against fraud and abuse of the US' visa programmes.