‘America First’ could turn into ‘India First’

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What is an H-1B visa?

America is nice due to its willingness to just accept proficient immigrants.

That is what Nandan Nilekani, the billionaire co-founder of Infosys Applied sciences, would inform President Trump if he had the chance.

“If you happen to actually wish to preserve the U.S. … globally aggressive, you have to be open to abroad expertise,” Nilekani mentioned on the sidelines of CNN’s Asia Enterprise Discussion board in Bangalore.

Infosys (INFY) is India’s second-largest outsourcing agency, and a serious recipient of U.S. H-1B visas. The paperwork permit the tech agency to make use of an enormous variety of Indians in U.S. jobs.

The Trump administration is now contemplating important modifications to the visa program. Press Secretary Sean Spicer mentioned in January that Trump will proceed to speak about reforming the H-1B program, amongst others, as half of a bigger push for immigration reform.

Curbs on the visas might hit Indian employees hardest.

India is the highest supply of high-skilled labor for the U.S. tech trade. In response to U.S. authorities information, 70% of the massively fashionable H-1B visas go to Indians.

Shares in a number of Indian tech corporations — together with Infosys — plunged spectacularly two weeks in the past amid experiences of an impending work visa crackdown.

Related: Tech industry braces for Trump’s visa reform

Nilekani mentioned it might be a mistake for the administration to observe by way of.

“Indian corporations have executed an ideal deal to assist U.S. corporations develop into extra aggressive, and I feel that ought to proceed,” Nilekani mentioned. “If you happen to have a look at the Silicon Valley … many of the corporations have an immigrant founder.”

India’s contribution to the trade — particularly at high ranges — has been outsized. The present CEOs of Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT), for instance, have been each born in India.

Related: India freaks out over U.S. plans to change high-skilled visas

However Nilekani, who can also be the architect of India’s formidable biometric ID program, urged that India would finally profit from any new restrictions put in place beneath Trump’s “America First” plan. If proficient engineers cannot go to the U.S., they’ll keep in India.

“This problem of visas has at all times come up within the U.S. each few years, particularly throughout election season,” he mentioned. “It is truly accelerated the event work [in India], as a result of … individuals are investing extra to do the work right here.”

Nilekani cited his personal initiatives for the Indian authorities for instance.

The Bangalore-born entrepreneur left Infosys in 2009 to run India’s huge social safety program, which is named Aadhaar. Because of the initiative, the overwhelming majority of India’s 1.3 billion residents now have a biometric ID quantity that permits them to obtain authorities providers, execute financial institution transactions and even make biometric payments.

“It was constructed by extraordinarily proficient and dedicated Indians,” Nilekani mentioned. “A lot of them had world expertise, however they introduced that expertise and expertise to resolve India’s issues.”

Nilekani mentioned the nation’s huge youth inhabitants is more and more selecting to remain dwelling and pitch in.

“It is India first,” he mentioned.

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

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