US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that calls for a review and reform of temporary visa program in the country. The goal of the reforms would be to encourage American businesses to hire American citizens instead of bringing in highly skilled foreigners. Every year 65,000 H-1B visas are awarded, and Indians receive most H-1B visas. So, these new rules will probably have a huge impact on the Indian IT professional and IT industry.
Indian Foreign Ministry has said that they are keeping an eye on the situation. Nirmala Sitharaman, the union commerce minister said that the US should keep in mind the interest of American Companies operating in India, hinting that Indian Government could retaliate against companies from the US earning profits in India if Indians lost jobs because of the new visa policy.
Sitharaman said: “Let us also understand that not just Indian companies in the US, several big US companies are in India too. They are also here, they are earning their margins, they are earning their profits which goes to the US economy.” At the moment she is in favor of constructive engagement but she made it clear that India will not accept unfair treatment.
Gopal Baglay, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said that this matter relates to trade and services and not immigration. Once the reform of the visa program comes to an end, India will assess the impact of the changes made. He said that contribution of Indian IT professionals has already been conveyed to the US by the Indian government.
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley who is in the US at the moment attending a International Monetary Fund meeting said that he will take up the matter with authorities from the US administration when the opportunity comes. He will be attending the G20 summit in the US as well. During this five day visit he will be meeting the US treasury secretary and other key authorities in the US.
Industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce of India fears that India’s IT companies will be hit hard due to higher costs and as a result many of the companies may have to shrink the size of their work force.