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Sidhu dismissed fears over the new visa regime, calls Punjabi as the fastest growing language in Australia

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New Delhi, 8 May, 2017: Punjabi is the fastest growing language in Australia while Hinduism is the fastest growing religion and Sikhism is among the top 20 religions practised in the country, owing to a large number of Punjabi people among the proficient Indian diaspora. This information was shared by Mrs Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s high commissioner to India.

Speaking at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Mrs Harinder Sidhu informed that the number of India-born Australians has tripled in the last one decade. She also confirmed Australia’s cooperation in setting up a university of sports in India.

Earlier during a maiden visit to India, Eric Abetz, leader of the opposition in the Australian Senate had also said that being the most commonly spoken foreign language in the country, Punjabi has become an indispensable part and parcel of Australia.

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Sidhu, who is a Punjabi too, provided relief to skilled migrants and students by ousting their fears over the new visa regime. She said there is no change in rules for the visa, which most Punjabi migrants opt for.

“The change is only in the shorter (term) visa for skilled workers, in which knowledge of English is now included as pre-clause. Australia wants that skilled workers should start working from the first day, instead of first learning the language for three to four months.”

She also mentioned the colliding Visa 457 rule and the US making H1B visa rules stricter which is ultimately leading to confusion by saying, “We had no idea that it would coincide with the US visa being made stricter. The US and Australia are two different countries and have different requirements. But coincidence created confusion.”

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Labelling her country as the “most successful multicultural society, where people from 120 different countries are living”, Mrs Sidhu dismissed fears of racism against Punjabis.

Calling the murder of a singer and bus driver Manmeet Sharma, a criminal act, “not of racism”, she said that swift action was taken.“There were some stray incidents, but Australia has strong laws against such incidents,” she further added.

prepared by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram. Twitter handle- @Himanshi1104

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

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It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

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President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)