India is worried about the Trump administration’s restrictions on visas for highly skilled workers, and has communicated its concerns “at a very senior level.”
That’s the word from Ravi Shankar Prasad, IT policy chief for the Indian government.
Speaking about worldwide advances in technology, Prasad said, “The whole movement in the world has been based upon sharing, upon commonality, upon reciprocity."
Part of that reciprocity has been America’s traditional expedited processing of H-1B visas, which allows skilled workers from India and elsewhere to join the staffs of American companies quickly and with a minimum of hassle.American companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have counted on expedited processing to give them access to the world’s best programmers and engineers.
Records reveal that about 70 percent of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued each year are for Indian workers, many of whom are recruited for American employers by Indian companies like Tata Consultancy, Wipro, and Infosys.
President Trump has criticized the H-1B program, claiming that it allows U.S.companies to recruit low-cost workers from other countries instead of hiring Americans and paying them good wages.The President believes imported labor is a major contributing cause to American unemployment and that pressure from inexpensive foreign workers has kept American wages artificially low.
India has greeted Trump’s vow to curb the H-1B program via executive order with fear and alarm.
Gartner Group analyst D.D.Mishra says this move could be bad for American business, noting that companies throughout the country turn to the H-1B program when they need skilled workers fast to meet unanticipated challenges. "The agility and the speed which they were expecting Indian IT services to generate will get impacted," he said.
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