US policy wise : Visa, Free Trade and WTO

H-1B visa amid the U.S. elections

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : H-1B term

Mains level : Paper 2- H-1B visa issue

Trump administration’s two moves on the visa could have implication for both  India and corporate America. It needs to be seen whether the situations will remain the same after the Presidential elections in the U.S.

Context

  • The U.S. President announced a hike in the salaries for those arriving in the U.S. on H-1B or skilled-worker visas.

Implications for India

  • This hike is expected to cut visa applications by around 33%.
  • Trump administration has in its earlier executive actions banned the issuance of new skilled worker visas and new green cards.
  • India’s export of services to the U.S. is estimated to be at $29.6 billion in 2018, 4.9% more than in 2017, and 134% more than 2008 levels.
  • The U.S. has been issuing 85,000 H-1B visas annually, of which 20,000 are given to graduate students and 65,000 to private sector applicants, approximately 70% of which are granted to Indian nationals.
  • The visa issuance ban, combined with the mandatory salary floor soon to be instituted, will seriously hit U.S. imports of services from India.

Criticism of the move

  • A federal judge in the Northern District of California blocked the enforcement of the new visa ban, ruling that the President “exceeded his authority” under the U.S. Constitution.
  • Google CEO hit out at the ban, saying, “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today.”

Consider the question “What makes the H-1B visa important for India? What are the implications of the recent rise in the salary floor by the U.S. for the visa on India?”

Conclusion

While the ban and floor limit on salary come in the election milieu, India should prepare for the after election scenario.

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