Immigration issue in America is getting hotter than ever. At a time when the economy needs boosting from all corners – be it technological advancement or the cost cutting measures, the US Congress will dig its own grave if they announce tougher immigration policies which is only one sided. India is going to get affected the most, in one way.
In April 2007, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (Republican from IOWA) and Dick Durbin (Democrat from Illinois) introduced “The H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007″ to overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to give priority to American workers and crack down on employers who apparently deprived qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.
The Act per se seems to have been formed to unearth the fraud in the system, but it seems to me that this is a ploy towards protectionism. America which once boasted of providing shelter to large scale immigrants who wanted to live the American dream seems to be backtracking. Slowly it is moving away from what it stood for. The repercussions of this could be very detrimental to America and its economy especially with the Indians and Chinese forming the bulk of the H1B and L1 applicants – Perhaps they are not taking into consideration of the facts that
· America’s technology is depended on India in many ways – For example, the banking, insurance, core technology etc depend on highly skilled Indian brainpower
· Indian & Chinese tech brains are responsible for some of the highly successful technological startups in the US
· There are several patents that are filed in America, for which contributions from Indians and Chinese are exemplary
· Indians and Chinese are highly competitive and give absolute value for money and thus helps the American companies to survive outside of America
If America wants to be a global power in the coming years, it has to loosen its strings on these highly sensitive issues. There is no two ways about it.
Consider this – India, as an emerging super power economy and an already acknowledged super power in the world of science and technology are capable of driving changes at a pace that no one can imagine. Given the socio-political changes that are happening in India, “Protectionism in America” regarding the H1B visa & L1 visa holders can actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for India.
I see a ripple effect starting to happen. In the 80s and 90s we discovered that there is a brain drain happening from India and China to the Americas. As a result, the American economy grew by leaps and bounds. With the noose tightened for H1Bs and L1s, there is a high possibility of a reverse brain drain happening from America to India and China
Guess what, this will lead to more entrepreneurship in India and China, there by fuelling these economies and taking the country to even higher levels. That simply would mean, America would be in the lurch for want of intellectual capital.
Protectionism only leads to inefficiencies in the system – This has been proven time and again. If America doesn’t open its eyes to realities, then the growth of China and India is imminent.
Immigration issues in America are a blessing in disguise for India – Do you agree?
Image Credit: Takoma Bibelot