‘America First’ could turn into ‘India First’

What is an H-1B visa?

America is great because it is ready to receive talented immigrants.

That’s what Nandan Nilekani, the billionaire co-founder of Infosys Technologies, would tell President Trump if he had the chance.

“If you really want to keep America… globally competitive, you should open the door to foreign talent,” said Nilekani on the sidelines of CNN’s Asia Business Forum in Bangalore.

Infosys (INFY) is India’s second largest software outsourcing company and a key partner for US H-1B visas. The documents allow the tech company to recruit a large number of Indians for jobs in the United States.

The Trump administration is currently considering significant changes to the visa program. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in January that Trump would continue to talk about reforming the H-1B program, among others, as part of a larger push for immigration reform.

Visa restrictions are likely to hit Indian workers hardest.

India is the leading source of high-skilled labor for the US technology industry. According to US government data, 70% of the extremely popular H-1B visas are for Indians.

Shares of several Indian technology companies – including Infosys – plunged spectacularly two weeks ago amid reports of an impending work visa crackdown.

Related: Tech industry tough for Trump’s visa reform

Nilekani said it would be a mistake for the authorities to follow suit.

“Indian companies have done a lot to help American companies become more competitive, and I think that should continue,” said Nilekani. “If you look at Silicon Valley… most companies have immigrant founders.”

India’s contribution to the industry – especially at the highest levels – has been more appreciated. Current CEOs of Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT)for example, both were born in India.

Related: India is alarmed by the plan to change the US high-skilled visa

But Nilekani, who is also the architect of India’s ambitious biometric ID program, suggests that India will ultimately benefit from any new restrictions introduced in the plan. America First” by Trump. If talented engineers can’t come to America, they stay in India.

“This visa issue always pops up in the US every few years, especially during election season,” he said. “It really pushed the development work [in India]because … people are investing more to get the job done here. ”

Nilekani cites his own projects to the Indian government as examples.

The Bangalore-born businessman left Infosys in 2009 to run India’s large social security scheme, known as Aadhaar. As a result of this initiative, the vast majority of India’s 1.3 billion citizens now have biometric ID numbers that allow them to receive government services, perform banking transactions and even make payments. now biometric payments.

“It was built by extremely talented and dedicated Indians,” said Nilekani. “Many of them had global experience, but they brought that talent and experience to solve India’s problems.”

Nilekani said the country’s huge youth population is increasingly choosing to stay home and participate.

“It was India first,” he said.

CNNMoney (Bangalore, India) First published February 13, 2017: 2:19 PM ET

https://money.cnn.com/2017/02/13/technology/india-h1b-visa-trump-nandan-nilekani/index.html?section=money_news_international ‘America First’ could turn into ‘India First’

Edmund DeMarche

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