Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
In news:The changes that are expected in the new US administration, especially the work visa- H1B and L1 visa has raised concern among the Indians. Also, there has been uncertainty regarding new US President’s policy on work.
Affecting the Indians
The talks on changing rules of H1B visas are not new and the concern of outsourcing had been an issue. In the past, this issue was raised strongly during the presidential elections which focussed on stopping the outsourcing of work as there is increasing unemployment in USA. The new US president had repeated the same concerns but after his inauguration, there have been increased reports that there is going to be a change in the H1B visa system.
The 65000H1B visas are issued every year and the applications are much more than it. In addition to it, there are more 20000 visas given for recruitment of people who have studied in US higher education institutions. Out of these applications received, the selection is done randomly by the computers. But US administration says that there is a misuse of this system as many companies increase their number of applications, thereby increasing their chance of getting the visa. In addition to the numbers, there is also limit of salaries of the workers who are going to get the visa. This limit was set last time in 1989 at US$ 60000 per annum. Because the idea is that only those people should be selected under H1B visa who are highly qualified and whose replacement is not met from within USA, in present time, there is lot of discussion over revising these limits and bringing in more efficiency in choosing the visa holders.
Affecting the India-US relation
There are many who have opined that there is a need to make distinction between India US relation and US dealing with companies availing H1B visas.The India US relation is a global strategic partnership and not limited to one issue like H1B visa. The trade relation between two countries is much bigger and broader. The services is very important component of India-US relation. PM also mentioned about taking far-sighted, reflective and balanced response to deal with the misuse of the H1B visa system to a US delegation that had come to India.
When PM of India visits US later in the year, the immigration policy of USA will be one of the talking points between the two leaders but not the topmost as there are other issues such as dealing with terrorism, issue of peace, security and prosperity in Indo-Pacific region, defence relationship between two countries, make in India programme etc.
Out of the 320 million population of US, the Indian diaspora is just 3 million, i.e. less than 1%. But Indian community is much significant over there in terms of their education, prosperity, annual per capita income. It is one of the best and most well to do immigrant community in USA. That is why they have influence across the board, whether it is Democrats or Republicans. In addition, when the civilian nuclear cooperation deal was under discussion, then the Indian diaspora had played an important role in it. Thus, the Indian community is big supporter of India and have also contributed to Indian growth and prosperity.
Call from EU
A recent EU delegation had visited India and expressed its interest in inviting Indian professionals to EU if they are not being welcomed in USA. India started its Bilateral Trade and Investments Agreements negotiations in 2007 with EU. One of the important issues that India wants to include in it is the movement of personnel. India has been asking for movement of professionals and software personnel going there. This is one of the sticking points include others like European Union wants their alcoholic beverages and liquor, automobiles to come to India but taxation is high. But these issues are not yet being agreed upon.
The whole issue of Brexit has happened as Britain was not able to accommodate other professionals and semi-skilled personnel from other EU countries. Thus it is very interesting to hear what EU leader has to say. But it can be only seen when the negotiations commence on the BTIA.
President Trump is a businessman and interested in doing profitable deals. He will see that the presence of Indian specialists and Indian professionals is good for American business as it makes them more competitive. In that sense, when former President Bush had visited India, he had mentioned that growth of India is in the interest of US as when India grows, the demand for manufactures of US products increases. Thus, they also realise that people who are going there and contributing to US economy, it is win-win proposition for both countries.
Hence, the final negotiations and deals should be a balanced one, accommodating to the national interests.
Connecting the dots:
India-US relations have seen an upward movement in recent years but with the new administration taking over USA, it is a cause of concern that the ties may not be ‘as usual’. Do you agree? Examine the effect of new US administration on India.