Donald Trump, a well-known American real estate businessman, author and politician declared his candidature for the American Presidential election on June 16, 2015. A hard-core Republican by nature, Trump made a strategic move against the immigration policy of the United States of America by demanding a hike in the minimum wage paid to the H1B visa holders. According to Murthy Law Firm (n.d.), an H1B visa is one which is given to foreign professionals to work in the U.S for a period of 6 years with an extension of up to 3 years by the USCIS. Trump argues that a large number of H1B visas are being granted to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workers, hired overseas, including India; raising the minimum wage bar will cost the companies to hire from abroad and hence will automatically provide employment to the large number of unemployed graduates and IT professionals in the U.S.
With the policy paper on immigration released by Trump ahead of the Presidential election in 2016, it is indeed a concern for the Indian techies wanting to work in the U.S if the policy gets implemented. Not much of a worry to the Indian companies, yet future job seekers stand to lose a chance of working in the U.S.A. Criticising Donald’s policy, it is argued by firms that America lacks potential graduates and talented workers striving to make a place into the Silicon Valley (Mukherjee and Shaikh, 2015). According to Ottaviano, Peri and Wright (2012), low cost wages, alongside a pool of sufficient talent is what pushes companies to look elsewhere, outside the States. Trump’s policies are indeed manifested in a way to seek the support of working class white voters who are indeed striving hard to get themselves a job in the STEM sector. Looking back to migration policies, Indians have indeed benefitted from a Democratic Obama government; it’s time to see whether and what benefits India in the long run—a Democratic or a Republican government.
How have migrant workers shaped the American economy?
The Presidential front runner is playing a malignant form of politics trying to win the vote banks by asserting that the effect of unstoppable immigration has had a disastrous effect on the native jobseekers (The Economist, 2015). As a contradiction to this, labour economists claim that almost no downward wage push has been created by the migrant workers; neither have they forcibly pulled out Americans out of jobs.
The number of STEM graduates is twice the strength of that employed in the same sector; yet, about two-thirds of entry-level jobs are pooled with foreign nationals, especially Indians. Every year around 65,000 Indians find their way into the Silicon Valley into the STEM sector, which if reduced by the promising Republican Trump, can be a matter of concern and worry for our tech graduates (Asian American Justice Centre, 2012). According to data released by the Migration Policy Institute, more than half of the total Indian immigrants in the States, obtain a permanent residence (a green card) and are found to be more likely to be employed given their higher standard of education (Zong and Batalova, 2015). The increasing number of H1B visas is a clear indication that the U.S job market is absorbing more of foreign skilled workers.
How will the new visa system affect India?
Against this backdrop, contraction of the H1B visa would not have any major impact on the Indian economy, lest that few aspiring Indians would have their dreams shattered (Karthik M, Manager, T2M Consulting). Rest, Indian companies that rely on such a visa are more likely to go about acquiring local companies. So, the Indian pool of talent is unexpected to go wasted, just in case they do not find their way into their dreamland. But, the problem still clings on to the Americans. With most of the analysts claiming that the U.S talent is not appreciable of a STEM job, its hard time for the Americans, not the Indians.
With an attempt towards the termination of the H1B visa, the J-1 visa programme will most likely be slashed as well if Trump wins power (Finn, 2015). Now, that is a serious problem for young foreign professionals, especially Indians. Abolishment of the latter will put an end to Indian professionals going on the exchange based educational and cultural programs and later work there. On the flip side of the coin, that can again be good news for the Indian economy, given that the termination of the J-1 and H1B visas will stop the brain drain from India and more of Indian talent can be best utilised within our economy. The Trump administration is targeted at an all-beneficial economy for the Americans but, in its attempt may do little good to the Indian diaspora as well.
While the Republican aristocrat Donald Trump has culminated in his favour a large support from the American citizens, a survey by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) reveals that Indian-American still continues their overwhelming support to the Democratic Party of America. Out of the 1 million Indian-American registered voters, almost 88% had voted in favour of Barrack Obama, a Democratic candidate, during the 2012 Presidential election. (Mukherjee & Shaikh, 2015). Following this humongous support, there arose a common consensus that India, being a democracy, is poised to have healthy relations with the U.S under the leadership of the Democratic Party. However, this consensus failed to get implemented beyond words. There have been no constructive and productive deals and agreements with India that had occurred during the reign of the Democrats. On the other hand, the Indian economy has seen a huge expansion in terms of trade co-operation, investments and security, all inclined towards the objective of growth and development from the Republican Party in the past. Citing an example, the India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement came into force only during the administration of George W. Bush, a Republican diplomat (Pillalamarri, 2014). Although the full potential of the agreement is yet to be explored, the Indo-US Nuclear deal of 2005 has sufficiently transformed the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The U.S has removed many far-fetched high technology sanctions from India for importing anything for its nuclear programme (Mallik, 2015). The deal also made India eligible to buy U.S dual-use nuclear technology, including materials that can be used to extract uranium in an enriched way as also to re-process plutonium in a convenient manner. This gave impetus to India to have an access to potentially creating the materials of a nuclear bomb. The nuclear consensus also allowed India to receive imported fuel for its nuclear reactors. India has gone a long way in importing uranium and also negotiating with vendors for the purchase of new reactors (Bajoria & Pan, 2010).
Foreign policies between India and Republican America
Speaking on a foreign policy level, a Republican American government represented by Donald Trump would be more compatible for the Indian economy, given that the political interests and thoughts of the Republican Party are in coherence with that of India. Senator John McCain has argued for a stronger partnership with India, with the latter at the heart of U.S interests in Asia. Also, the Senator has expressed his views on seeking close partnerships with India on energy, trade and defence (Ayres, 2014). He also strongly advocated for the amendment of U.S natural gas laws to provide a permit to more foreign players, primarily India. With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power in India, expectations are on board for both the countries to sync align if the Republicans come to rule the White House. Also, the Republicans are designated as being more prone towards foreign investment and free trade, as being less protectionist than the Democrats. Though the Republicans are not in favour of inviting migrants from India and elsewhere, they are inclined towards the Indian sub-continent in terms of geopolitics, trade and defence priorities. The Civil Nuclear Agreement signed a decade ago was the pioneer in opening doors to the friendly relations between the U.S and India, increasing trade tremendously. Besides, the co-operation on counter-terrorism has also initiated a success. The States has also lent a helping hand to India’s development of next-generation aircraft carriers. All these, without the commencement of the nuclear agreement, would have been quite a tough target to achieve. Thus, the advantages of a Republican government with Trump as the President of the USA far outdo the limited disadvantages to India.
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