Serin Thankam Sam
US President Donald Trump’s move to suspend H-1B visas and other visas for this year is putting immigrants in perpetual anguish. Evidently, it is affecting the American dreams of many young Indians.
Ninety per cent of applicants for the H-1B visa are from India. The proclamation that comes into effect on June 24 is expected to impact a large number of Indian IT professionals and several American and Indian companies who were issued H-1B visas by the US Government for the fiscal year 2021 beginning October 1. It would also impact a large number of Indian IT professionals who are seeking renewal of their H-1B visas. There are a total of over 4.5 lakh H-1B visa holders and majority of them are Indians.
A twitter user with the name H1BimmigrantAnshu Sharma, who runs a company in the US, tweeted,“Banning all H1B visas means CEOs like me have to open offices and hire more people in countries like Canada that allow immigration. The visa ban is morally wrong and economically stupid. What happened to being “for legal immigration”?
India’s apex IT body NASSCOM said H-1B Visa ban is misguided and harmful to the US economy. The IT body said in a statement that the new proclamation will prevent our companies and thousands other organisations from accessing the talent they need from overseas.
A Grim future for Tech Companies?
The business leaders fiercely opposed the move saying that it will block their ability to recruit critically needed workers from countries overseas. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said on Twitter he was “disappointed” and that “we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.” “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation-we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all,” Pichai said.
About three-quarters of H-1B visas go to people working in the technology industry. According to the state department, the number of non-immigrant visas issued in 2019 declined for the fourth consecutive year, to 8.7 million from 10.9 million in 2015.CompTIA, a trade group that represents big tech companies like Amazon and Google parent company Alphabet Inc. said the move would deal a lasting blow to the economy.
Nandini Nair, an immigration partner at Greenspoon Marder, said to a media,“Many spent thousands of dollars filing paperwork for each H-1B visa applicant. They expended all of this money and planned their budgets and workforce capabilities on these visas and that’s now shot,” Nair said.Many workers have been unable to travel since the coronavirus pandemic shut borders across the world. “A lot of these workers are now prisoners in the U.S. because they don’t have a valid visa stamp in their passport,if they go, they can’t come back in,” Ms. Nair said.
Creating Opportunities for talents within the country
On the contrary, VikramAhuja, Co-Founder of Talent 500 by ANSR believes this is the exact opportunity to explore the potential of Indian companies and talent within the country.“We think this is a fantastic opportunity for the growth of Global Capability Centers (GCC’s) which allows global companies to access top talent and build teams where they are.GCC’s in India have grown at 50% year-on-year and have emerged as the strongest growth-driver for the Indian IT Industry,” he said.
He also said that H-1B will impact a lot of deserving professionals from accessing well deserved opportunities, “but at the same time is a terrific opportunity for talent to access newer opportunities which will come up in India due to enterprises needing to build great team irrespective of where they are,” Vikram Ahuja said.