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The media is still very divided on how Trump’s presidency affects Indians and the country, but many experts have weighed in and most agree that while there are setbacks, India does stand to gain with Trump at the Oval. Presently, 90% of Indian IT workers in the US utilize H1B visas. Spouses of H1B visa holders are allowed to work in the US thanks to the Obama administration. This will change with Trump’s visa policy. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment or Raise Act aims to significantly curb the number of immigrants into the US by cutting down the number of greencards issued each year from 1 million to half that number. This would impact several Indians currently waiting for their greencards on employment-based categories. If this law is passed, the usual waiting period, which ranges from 10-35 years, will definitely increase.
Indian IT companies and the US have mutually benefited from H1B visas so far, as several skilled workers enter the US on these visas. Also set to change are the rules for L1 visa holders. According to the new policy, workplaces that employ people with L1 visas, which are commonly used by top management visiting the US for shorter periods, will be subjected to site visits by officials from the Department of Homeland Security. However, experts believe that while there will be pressure on IT firms to hire locally initially, opportunities for the Indian IT industry will only grow with time.
While most people immediately think that Donald Trump’s new visa policies will prove disastrous for most countries, including India, this isn’t necessarily the case.
For starters, India is far better placed than a lot of other nations while Trump is president. His admiration for India has been expressed several times while he was still campaigning. He once said that he would be India’s big friend and even went on to praise PM Narendra Modi for his decisive leadership. Trump even expressed his desire to stand shoulder to shoulder with India in sharing intelligence in order to keep people of both nations safe. The US defence secretary, James Mattos, emphasised on the need for a closer strategic partnership with India. As Trump promised to get tough on policies toward China, India would serve as a natural counterbalance. China’s growing diplomatic and economic influence would affect both the US and India, and working together would be in both their best interests. Another benefit for India is Trump’s ties with Russia. Under Obama’s administration, ties between the US and Russia were going south, and India’s old friend, Russia was drifting closer to China and Pakistan. With Trump in power, Russia may no longer need to depend on China’s help to boost their economy.
India also has much more to gain from Trump’s presidency. US companies that benefit from foreign labour would now either have to offshore their work or concede this advantage to other Asian and European companies. Those Indians who return to India from the US will have gained a lot of knowledge on global markets and can use their newly acquired knowledge and skill sets to start more Indian companies. As several Indians living abroad have saved tons of money in the form of stocks, banks, homes and companies, the money, which will have to be remitted back to India could potentially be used to create several new companies.
To better understand how Donald Trump’s visa policies will affect prospective students to the US, click here.