US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Monday to temporarily suspend immigration into the US has created a lot of anxiety in India’s technological sector as the industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the work visas.
Indian Information and Technology (IT) giants like TCS, Infosys, HCL Tech, Wipro, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra and others who are a part of the $191 billion software services export industry are likely to be among the worst affected from the decision as the companies make extensive use of H-1B work visas to service their US-based clients.
H-1B work visas which are non-immigrant visas pave way for immigration and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had earlier approved the extension of H1-B visas that had expired or were set to expire.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States”, Trump tweeted late on Monday.
Trump’s tweet made no reference as to what immigration programs might be affected by the order and if the decision would be applied retrospectively. Neither the President nor the White House has offered any clarification on the matter as of yet.
The announcement has not only made Indian IT companies who are already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic wearier but has also impacted the stock prices of the companies.
India’s IT services industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) sought details about the executive order of US President Donald Trump. In a tweet, NASSCOM said, “NASSCOM seeks details on the Executive Order of the President of the United States suspending immigration temporarily.”
According to NBC News, almost 22 million Americans have filed for initial unemployment benefits as of and experts are of the view that the announcement is more in line with President Trump’s poll promise of “Make America Great Again” as it has come at a time when Trump has received flak from various quarters for mishandling the Covid-19 outbreak.
Many Indians on H-1B work visas have lost jobs after several projects shut down on account of the lockdowns in force and are stuck in the US following closure airspace worldwide.
However, the announcement has not gone down well with many in the opposition including Democratic Senator Kamala Harris who in a tweet blamed Trump’s mishandling of the outbreak from Day 1 for the loss of American lives.
Trump is trying to distract and deflect from his failure to address the ongoing pandemic.
To our immigrant community: know that we see you and we won’t stop fighting against Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. https://t.co/GBNHDqTgqx
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 21, 2020
Jerry Nadler in a tweet accused President Trump of diverting US attention from his inept handling of the pandemic by shifting the blame on the immigrants while Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro criticized President Trump by calling the announcement a “dumb move”.
Many experts believe that the suspension of immigration will make Chinese, Indian and other IT professionals seek jobs in China, South Korea and India rather than Silicon Valley which in turn can be a blessing in disguise for them.