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Trump's H-1B visa tweak: Silicon Valley will suffer along with Indian IT

The US has a shortage of over a million computer science engineers and there are not enough graduates taking up computer science courses to fill the gap

Raghu Krishnan  |  Bengaluru 

H-1B, H-1B visa
Representative image

Over half a million Indian workers who have renewed their H-1B visas are expected to see their lives toppled if the US government goes ahead with the proposal to return them to their country.

Many of them have aspired for a US citizenship, lining up for a that grants them that status. It is not just their lives but even plans of several US technology firms that will be affected as they would struggle to find resources to build their

The US has a shortage of over a million computer science engineers and there are not enough graduates taking up computer science courses to fill the gap. In addition, many such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Oracle have been dependent on workers from India who come on H-1B work visas for these jobs.

A 2016 study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) said that over half of the so-called unicorn start-ups in the US were founded by an immigrant founder. Of this, 14 of them had founders with roots in India.

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The NFAP has argued that each additional lot of 100 approved H-1B visas generates over 183 jobs among US natives, which is clear evidence of visas corresponding to greater job opportunities for US-born workers.

National Association of Software and Services (Nasscom) President says that the US move to restrict visas would also affect its own technology

"These restrictions will affect the American economy," says Chandrasekhar, adding that several global firms are now looking at centres in India, where the talent exists.

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Several global firms such as Standard Chartered, Diageo, and Swiss Bank UBS are expanding in India, looking to tap local talent to deliver services. General Electric has shut its research and development centres in the rest of the world and is focusing on expanding in the US and India.

Some also argue that this could have ramifications for India's bilateral relationship with the US.

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"If this move is initiated by the Trump administration, then a large number of Indian professionals may not get their H-1B visas extended. Many of these professionals work in the information technology and hi-tech sectors. This does not augur well for Indo-US foreign policy, especially when the Modi administration is working to strengthen ties with the US government," says Raju Bhatnagar, secretary general, Bangalore Chamber of and Commerce.

First Published: Thu, January 04 2018. 14:28 IST