Sunday, 26 June, 2022
HomeTalk PointTrump’s H-1B move will disrupt projects in India and the US

Trump’s H-1B move will disrupt projects in India and the US

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ThePrint asks:

Can Trump’s war on H-1B benefit India’s IT industry?

There is a need to understand that this is one in a series of moves and we must appropriately contextualise the new H1-B visa norms.

H1-B has always been a lottery system. That is how most people get to the United States. Even the most experienced employees are clubbed with less experienced ones in this lottery, which makes it a game of chance rather than merit. The US government had earlier proposed to review the system and make it more logical.

Throughout the process, whether you clear the application or not is a big question mark.

Moreover, even after you’ve won the lottery, there is a lot of interrogation. The common questions that often arise are: why have you been chosen? Can’t an American do the same job? All of this creates a delay in getting the visa stamped.

At present, there are close to one lakh Indians waiting in the US for H1B conversion to green card. A major percentage of H1Bs are to Indians while not more than 7 per cent green cards in any year can go to one nationality, hence creating huge waiting time even after labour clearances are done.

What that means is that almost one lakh young Indians, who have been living in the US for many years and have families there, including children who are citizens, are waitlisted and get affected if the six-year limit on H1B is implemented. Families affected may have to move back to India lock, stock and barrel.

The implications for IT sector are disturbing. These are senior people working on critical jobs. It’s not easy to replace existing employees, or hire people with similar skills.

This is likely to create disruption in projects which is neither good for the US economy, nor for the Indian or American tech companies. If they implement the ‘buy American hire American’, which includes a number of cascading initiatives, it will only end up making life difficult for non-US citizens and also create disruptions for US corporates.

India is already facing a job crisis. The pressure to find jobs for the million people entering the job market every year is huge. The IT sector has slowed down and is not hiring at a great pace right now. It is incapable of accommodating all of these potential returnees, and if at all it does, other Indian aspirants won’t get placed.

If these norms go through, it will create an adverse situation for both countries and should be reconsidered.

Ganesh Natarajan is Founder and Chairman of 5F World, and former chairman of NASSCOM

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