Visa Woes

Visa Woes

I was looking though the updates on the Huffington Post app, and stumbled upon an interesting article on the renewed policies of the H1B visa. It saddened me to learn that the prospects of chain migration had been limited severely. Typically, the new policy involves, giving visas only to highly qualified skilled workers who have been involved in the STEM (Science, technology, Engineering, and mechanism) professions.

Over the years, especially post the visa amendment policy of 1965, Indian’s have benefitted greatly from the chain migration policy. Chain migration refers to a term, when the highly skilled professionals eventually bring in his/her family; with first preference given to spouse and minor children, second preference given to parents and last inclination is likely to extend to adult siblings.

STEM india visa
Image Credit: Smallpiece Trust

The Visa amendment policy of 1965 led to the explosion of ‘unassimilated immigrants,’ as termed by Attorney Sessions, and Indians were accused of taking STEM jobs from Native Americans. Also since then the Indian American’s have emerged as one of the most successful subgroups in United States. Even to  this day there is a maximum number of Indian’s that hold the H1B visa as compared to a resident of any other nation.

Rising to power in the United States had its own set of disadvantages. The Hindus, especially the Gujaratis from the Patel community, had to brave the brutal onslaught from the extremist group called the ‘Dotbusters’ (in reference to the Bindi worn by Hindu women.). The Dotbusters went all out to kill any Hindu crossing their way. In the late 1970s, the Hindus found themselves in a very tricky situation, whereby they were literally trying to safeguard their lives. 

The onslaught died down after investigation teams arrested the offenders. But post 9/11, Indians suffered a similar fate. Suspicions were on the rise. Some universities had even got Asian students to wear digital cuffs to monitor their every move. Things however eased out during Obama’s tenure.

The recent amendment transports us back to the 1952 amendment that put severe caps on chains. The chains eased a bit by the 1965 amendment, and by 1990’s all caps on chains had been raised. With the recent amendment, we learn that the visa will now only be extended to highly qualified professionals, and not the members of their family. The reason is because over the years, Indians have dominated over the acquisition of the H1B visa. This has given impetus to innumerable Indian families to settle down in the United States. Also, according to the American census the American Indians rapidly out-number the Native American’s limiting their opportunities in the land of their birth.

US India customs visa trump obama
Image Credit: HuffPost 

Also, India has been America’s strongest political ally; yet the Trump government is opening its options in order to employ highly skilled and qualified immigrants from other nations. This has not only put Indian’s in a sticky spot, but also has a number of employing American industries in a catch 22, as they are unable to cope with the higher demands (as compared to Indians, in terms of wages) as levied by immigrants from other parts of the world. Silicon valley for instance suffered a near catastrophe as many Indians were compelled to walk out of their job, and return back home. 

Arguably, this may sound very fair at first, as the government is looking at passing opportunities to other natives as well, and in the retrospect it could aid in the country’s development for the better.

But probably if we delve deeper to understand the nuances behind these impulsive changes we could relate it to the racist issues that POTUS has directly or indirectly addressed of during the election period and even in the course of his tenure. 

American Indians, in large numbers, have been rallying against the move. However, the amendments have been made and the creases will only iron out with time.

If we look at the positive side of the move taken by POTUS, it encourages a lot of Indians to stay back in their motherland and devote time in developing the infrastructure in our own nation. India is developing fast, and is looks at employing highly skilled laborers to cope with the growing needs of development. The infrastructure has been evolving rapidly, giving impetus to the highly skilled STEM professionals to evolve and live the dream they desire in their own country.

Perhaps, it encourages India as a country to fulfill the dreams of their citizens. This can be done, by employing more beneficial norms and wage structure that helps people live a better life, in an envisioned clean environment.

Written by Heer Kothari 

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