“America First” slogan used by American politicians.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the rise in “America First” jingoism in the USA under its current regime has led to a temporary bank on the issuance of the all-important H-1B visa of which large beneficiaries were Indian techies and high tech companies. The quote mentioned above is a sample of the protectionism wave sweeping across America (businesses and jobs). The devastating impact of the pandemic on the American economy which is causing the country to head into its worst recession in decades has led to this announcement by the American government led by its president, Mr. Donald Trump.
What does this decision mean for Indian and Indians in the near future
On the surface as per the order, there is a temporary blockade on non-immigrant workers until the end of 2020. Mr. Trump’s executive statement states that the ongoing economic slump has widely impacted American jobs and poses a threat to the way of life. Hence in order to secure Americans with employment opportunities in various sectors, this step has been taken.
· Major IT firms from India such as Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro, and Cognizant whose employees form the bulk of the recipients of this visa system are reeling from this decision.
· Current Processing of all new H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visa categories are at a standstill. In effect, non-immigrant workers who do not have a valid non-immigrant visa as of June 23, and are not in the USA as of now, cannot re-enter the country till 2021. The numbers of these would be hundreds of thousands (lakhs in the Indian decimal system).
· The current existing lottery system on whose basis the lucky chosen ones got the visa is now scrapped. So those who believed in luck will now have to trust merit as their calling card for the shores of the USA and a better life.
· The new system is geared towards highly skilled personnel who are paid well by their employers. This will impact these tech companies who in order to reduce their costs would send thousands of Indians on lower salaries to the USA to work as compared to Americans who demand better salary packages. Resultant, it means lesser Indian professionals (working in lower roles and pay scales) would be in the USA; more American nationals would be hired if the companies are interested in maintaining sound financials. Already many IT companies have nearly 50% of Americans on their payrolls; this order may increase the percentage.
For Indians from various backgrounds especially in the charmed IT industry, this is a big blow. Whether there will be a change in policy if the regime changes after November 2020 election, we don’t know. Since it is uncertain, it’s best to keep our hopes high and spirits intact. A plan B for all Indian companies and personnel wishing to go to the USA is imperative in this day and age. Stay secure and stay blessed at all times.