Donald Trump has openly stated his aim of deporting illegal immigrants in the U.S. back to their countries. However, his stance on H1-B workers in the U.S remains nebulous.
In the early days of campaigning, Trump emphatically stated his plan of rescinding the H1-B visa through which thousands of people from countries like India and China are working in the U.S.
According to the U.S embassy, “the US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.” It has a maximum duration of up to 6 years.
Throughout his campaign, Trump promised to “restore our laws and bring back our jobs.” Earlier, he vehemently opposed the influx of non-immigrant workers who were replacing American workers but his recent stance and utterances on this issue have vexed the common man.
The new government’s decisions about the H1-B visa is still unknown. However, it is most likely that the rules around the H1-B visas will tighten.
If the rules around the H1-Bs become stricter, Trump may be able to deliver on his avowed commitment of “bringing jobs back”; but only in the short run. As the number of nonimmigrant workers in the U.S plummet, employment of the American citizens will rise.
While this move will help to generate employment for the U.S citizens, companies that hire cheap labor from countries like India and China will loathe this new paradigm of recruitment. The salary that they pay to the foreign workers’ American counterparts will be significantly higher, thereby resulting in the ballooning of manpower expenses which in turn will be detrimental to a company’s bottom line.
As a way to curb the entry of foreign workers in the U.S, an additional step that the Trump government might take is to raise the visa fee (which is paid by the company for the employee) or make the process of applying for getting a green-card more cumbersome for the non-immigrant workers.
Another connotation that can be attributed to the H1-B visa restriction is the drying up of the most prodigious talent in high-end jobs like software and computer applications. Up until now, American IT companies have been attracting the best brains. Post H1-B restrictions, that pool of highly intelligent professionals might find coming to the U.S. more of a cumbersome process. Staying back home will be a boon in disguise for the companies in their native lands.
Any which way this pans out, there is a lot of uncertainty that lies ahead. How the squeeze in H1B visa results in job creation in the U.S or affects the U.S companies’ bottom lines, lies totally in the realm of suspense that will unfold only with the passage of time.