Bhavya Writes: The President of The United States of America has completed 100 days in office. Trump came to power with his slogan “Make America Great Again” which had a nostalgic catch among the labour middle-class Americans. The 100 days has set a tone to the unorthodox Presidential rule of Trump. Against the backdrop of the number of policies that he attempted to implement, the tightening of the rules for issuing H1B visas has major implications for Indians.
On 18 April President Trump signed executive orders to review the regulations of the H1B visa, which is popular among the IT workers of India. This policy was to ensure to prioritize jobs for Americans. H1B visas are generally issued to foreign nationals for highly skilled jobs. This move is a deterrent to Indian IT companies which sends hundreds of software engineers to the US on H1B visas. The visas are awarded on lottery bases which the US wants to review. The lottery system is a benefit for the outsourcing firms as it floods the market with applications. Indian nationals are so dominant in the H1B program that they accounted for 195,247, or 70.1%, of all beneficiaries in 2015. Though such attempts have been made by the Obama administration as well, this was the first time legislation has been introduced to doubling the salary of the H1B visa workers. It will make H-1B visas difficult/costly for Indian IT.
Industries such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro will have to change its business strategies hiring more American workers. As the visa troubles deepen, Indian workers look to coming back to India. This can have far-ranging implications as India is already struggling with a jobless growth. Protectionist measures that target the core of India’s most competitive industries must have and will have a bearing on how open India remains to the US firms, such as Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft. It will have a bearing on India’s arms procurement from the US versus other eager countries.
Indian IT sector in US has contributed significantly to US economy. Indian tech companies have helped create over 4,00,000 jobs in the US, paid over $20 billion in taxes in the past five years, and reached out to 1,20,000 young Americans through STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education initiatives. Indian technology companies provide mission-critical support to over 75% of Fortune 500 US companies including banks, retailers, and car manufacturers. It becomes pertinent for the Indians to convey this message persuasively to the American lawmakers as there is much at stake for everyone. Nasscom has asked IT majors in America such as Apple, Google and others to lobby with Trump, to explain that more jobs would be generated by US companies if they outsource to India.
India should also make the best use of the worsening situation, create more jobs within the country. If India government could offer incentives to firms, provide tax breaks and increase the ease of doing business, it could utilise the best of the minds within the country itself. By leveraging the crackdown on the visa, India could provide a boost to the IT sector and increase the jobs.