The people manning the wide world of India’s information technology might see a silver lining in the new “Build America” visa policy of the Donald Trump administration. At a time when the US President is engaged in an elaborate trade war with China and ordering sanctions on Iran and restrictions on its oil imports, there has been very little good news for India from its ally. The new policy the President spelt out in the White House will see the granting of over a million green cards per year on a merit- and skill-based system rather than just on family ties or for diversity when only a tiny proportion of it going to skilled professionals from information technology, engineering and medical fields. Indian IT professionals have been struggling for some time now to get visas to stay and work in the US because of a lottery system in which the odds of getting a visa were very low.
Trump’s “Mexican Wall” stays as a firm proposal even as measures against immigrants from Central America are tightening. However, there is also a very humanitarian side to US immigration policies, which the world does not always give it credit for. For instance, the US is planning to release, after processing of applications, over one lakh immigrants who were held while seeking asylum in just the month of April, the highest inflow since 2007. While intending migrants have been inconvenienced in being flown from overcrowded facilities in Texas, they are likely to get a bus ticket to get to the cities of their relatives. What would suit aspiring Indian immigrants is, however, the switch to merit-based migration.