What does the Trump administration order on visa suspension say?
The order suspended the entry of additional workers through the H-1B and other non-immigrant visa programmes till the end of the year saying such entries would pose a threat to employment opportunities for Americans amid the pandemic.
The order said the Covid-19 had disrupted the livelihoods in the US and millions of Americans were out of work. “American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the US to perform temporary work. Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers,” said the proclamation.
What are the categories of visas suspended?
The categories of visa suspended include H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B and J-1. The H-1B visa allows US companies to employ graduate-level workers in specialised occupations like IT. Indians receive a significant share of the total H1-B visas. H sector-4 visa for spouses of H-1 B visa holders would also remain suspended. H2B visas for low-skill seasonal jobs, J visas for student exchanges and L visas for internal company transfers would be on hold, too.
How many Indians are likely to be affected?
Indians get around 70 per cent of the total 85,000 H-1B visas issued every year. A majority of these workers belong to IT companies. Expressing disappointment at the decision, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, tweeted, “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.”
What would be the repurcussions on Indian economy and US economy?
Experts said the repercussions of the suspension will be on both the Indian and the US economies. It “could be an election exercise”, but will hurt businesses in both countries, said K R Shyam Sundar, labour economist and professor, human resources management at XLRI, Jamshedpur. “Though the Indian IT giants have started accessing local talent as opposed to the past, the business models could undergo a change and their cost mapping will get hit,” he said.
Diplomat-turned-politician Pawan Verma said, “The presence of Indians in America carries a quotient which has proved its efficacy in terms of contributions to the American economy. We live in difficult times and countries often build walls when there is a pandemic in place… The way to resolve this is for both India and the US to have a diplomatic dialogue at the appropriate level.”