The National Association of Software and Services Companies on Monday countered the United States’ claim that Indian IT firms bag the highest number of H-1B visas by exploiting the lottery system that allots these work permits. Nasscom said Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys had won only 8.8% of the approved H-IB visas in 2014-2015, PTI reported.

TCS and Infosys, along with Cognizant, had been mentioned in a White House press statement that accused them of “unfairly” putting in more tickets in the visa-generating system. Both companies are members of Nasscom, a trade association of Indian IT firms.

On April 17, an official of the US government had said, “The top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant – they apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they get the lion’s share of visas.”

Responding to the allegations, Nasscom said, “We would like to...highlight that in 2014-15, only six of the top 20 H-1B recipients were Indian companies. All Indian IT companies cumulatively account for less than 20% of the total approved H-1B visas, though Indian nationals get about 71% of the H-1B visas.” This indicated the high skill levels of Indian-origin professionals, the association added.

Meanwhile, the US on Monday said it greatly valued investments by Indian companies and wanted to see bilateral business ties remain strong, days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had raised the matter of the tightening H-1B visa policy with his American counterpart, Steven Mnuchin. “We want to see US-India business-to-business ties remain strong,” acting spokesperson of the State Department, Mark Toner, said.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel also brought up the matter of protectionism while giving a lecture in New York City on Monday. “Where would Apple, IBM be if not for talent from across the globe?” he said, according to PTI. “I don’t think we have heard the last word on the US policy talks about this because there is a push back internationally that the world has benefited from an open trading system.”

On April 19, Trump signed an executive order introducing changes to the H-1B temporary visa scheme.