US President Donald Trump is serious about his ‘America First’ Mission. To realise it, he has come up with serious curbs on the H-1B visas, popular with Indian professionals. Finance minister Arun Jaitley has strongly raised with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross India’s concerns over the Trump administration's move to tighten the H-1B visa regime, highlighting the key role played by Indian professionals in boosting the American economy. Trump this week signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its “abuse” and ensure that the visas are given to the “most-skilled or highest paid” petitioners, a decision that would impact India’s $150 billion IT industry.
The Indian IT industry has expressed concerns over the US’ move. The executive order signed by Trump earlier this week calls for a review of H-1B visas by the departments of State, Labour, Homeland Security and Justice. Meanwhile, in an unexpected announcement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday that his government will replace the popular 457 visa that brings temporary foreign workers to the country with a new version that will recruit only the “best in the national interest.” The move to abolish the visa, used by over 95,000 workers, is aimed at tackling unemployment.
Immigrants are hopeful as well
Immigration Voice estimates there are some 1.5 million H-1B visa holders in the country waiting for green cards, many of whom are from India and have been waiting for more than a decade. Many of these immigrants welcomed President Donald Trump’s executive order this week to the federal departments overseeing the programme to review it, a move that may lead to H-1B visas being awarded to the highest-paying, highest-skilled jobs rather than through a random lottery. Their hope is that merit-based H-1Bs might then lead to merit-based green cards.