Trump RAISEs Good News For Indian IT

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    Aug 04, 2017


The Indian IT industry has been inflicted with struggles for quite some time now. However, US President Donald Trump’s new bill which proposes “merit” as the parameter for workers and the move towards the preference and support for English-speaking skilled workers for residency card ought to bring gains for India.

The legislation named Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE), would reduce the overall immigration numbers to limit low-skilled and unskilled labor entering the United States.

“The RAISE Act replaces the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based system that rewards applicants based on their individual merits.  It rewards education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative.This system is similar to the merit-based immigration systems used by Canada and Australia,” mentioned a release by The White House.

However, it would cut in half the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US, if the bill is passed by the congress and goes into being a law. The RAISE Act when passed will eliminate the Diversity Visa lottery system, and will introduce a points-based system for earning a green card.

The US sees several Indians enter on work visas and apply for green cards later, but the process has been unwieldy, this may now be a little less cumbersome. A recent study by Pew Research noted that there lies a long waiting period for Indians applying for permanent residency card or the green card in the US.

“In one employment-related category, people from India applying for permanent residence as skilled employees currently have a 12-year waiting list. In other words, the government currently is processing applications filed in May of 2005,” the report said.

In 2015, about 36,318 Indians adjusted their status to permanent residency while 27,798 Indians are new arrivals who got lawful permanent residency in the form of a Green Card. However, India is among the top countries whose residents get green cards every year and from fiscal 2010 to 2014 about 36 percent of employment-related green cards- more than 222,000- were given to H-1B visa holders, pointed out the study.

The RAISE Act’s cutting down the numbers by half seem quirky to some experts. Though it is still a bill and is supposed to inculcate several commissions and omissions before it sets in as a law, experts believe it is best to wait and watch how it ultimately unfolds and what benefits it brings to India.

The USD 150-billion Indian IT industry that is already facing several threats under Donald Trump presidency may now heave in some respite if the bill is passed and anything which smoothens the visa process will certainly fetch some solace.