India has moved the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the huge cost of US work visas that it says discriminates against certain information technology firms based in India.
The complaint is still at the consultations level and the two parties will try to negotiate a solution to the issue before going in for a full-fledged trade dispute, to be decided by the WTO.
While the exact time of India taking the complaint is not clear, commerce minister Anand Sharma had raised the issue with US commerce secretary John Bryson during his visit to India on 26 March.
A US law passed in August 2010 almost doubled visa fees for skilled expatriate workers to $4,500 per applicant, from $2320 earlier, so as to discourage IT companies making use of emigrant employees.
New York Democrat senator Charles Schumer who piloted the legislation had also made it clear at that time that the law was aimed at a small group of companies exploiting US law to import workers from abroad.
The law raised visa fees for firms with at least 50 employees in the US who already have more than half their US staff on H-1B or L1 visas. It doubled the cost of hiring for Indian tech companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Infosys and Mahindra Satyam.