Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the U.S. on Sunday. He meets with President Donald Trump on Monday, June 26, 2017.
Narendra Modi has landed. His homebased Indian tech companies’ abuse of the U.S. immigration system won’t be a topic of discussion. That’s because POTUS has already won that fight with the Indian outsourcers.
President Donald Trump might not need a wall, or need any major revamps to the polemic H-1B visa used by tech companies to bring in foreigners. Just the idea circulating the planet that Trump is going to steamroll foreigners and Make America Great Again has them staying home.
That doesn’t mean H-1B is going out of fashion. Some 80,000 workers will be getting their visas this fall, and thousands more will get their visas renewed, likely for another three years. Some 65% of those visas have gone to Indian nationals brought in by the major Indian IT outsourcing firms Infosys, Wipro, HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services.
Infosys in particular has hit Trump’s virtual wall. When it comes to Indian IT companies, Infy is the Indian bad guy of the H-1B.
In May, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a modest $1 million settlement with Infosys for failing to properly compensate hundreds of workers, pay applicable taxes and for abusing immigrant visa rules for their foreign hires in New York State.
“We will not permit companies to violate our laws in order to undercut New York workers” Schneiderman said in a press release.
Infosys is a top five user of the visa. Like its Indian counterparts, numerous American citizen tech workers have complained that companies were abusing the H1-B visa program in order to put a cap on wages, and force out older employees. India is the biggest user of the visa, so it has been in the cross-hairs and takes the brunt of the criticism. When Trump was elected, the visa became a front and center issue for Modi. The IT sector accounts for roughly 10% of India’s GDP.
According to the Attorney General office, Infosys “knowingly and unlawfully” obtained temporary visitor visas (B-1 visas) instead of the harder to get H-1B. B-1 visa holders are not subject to the H1-B prevailing wage requirements. Infosys workers using B-1 visas were doing work that would otherwise have been performed by U.S. citizens or H1-B visa holders, and were paid “significantly less” than the New York market rate. This is the type of fraud that the Trump administration has said it wanted to root out.
That same month, Infosys basically cried Uncle. The company said it plans to hire 10,000 citizen workers in the next two years, and will open four tech hubs in the U.S.
If Trump talks with Modi on this at all, it will be in passing and with a note that India is not being scapegoated by Washington (even though it has been by Silicon Valley for years, all in effort to lobby for less visas for Indian companies, more visas for Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, a top 10 user of H-1Bs).
Modi will not get Trump to budge on that visa. It might just be better for Indian IT firms to keep their best and brightest there. It makes more sense. Like Trump, Modi also has a domestic manufacturing agenda designed to build and strengthen local labor.
As for Trump and the H-1B issue, the India front has been won. At the very least, it is under control. The Indian firms will get less. The American firms will get more. H-1B visa totals will remain unchanged.
Trump even called Modi a “true friend” in a Tweet on Saturday. Knowing how Trump likes to use social media to be bombastic, his friendly welcoming to the Indian Prime Minister should be seen as a positive. The fact that he has not said Modi is running a nation of U.S. immigration law breakers suggests this story has been put to bed.
Look forward to welcoming India’s PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!
— President Trump (@POTUS) June 24, 2017
The meeting between Modi and Trump is an opportunity for the president to build chemistry with a country that is also building closer ties with China and Russia.
The U.S. is hoping to secure greater defense ties with India. Lockheed Martin is looking to sell its future upgraded F-16s in India, with all of them made there by Lockheed’s long time local partner, Tata Advanced Systems, owned by the same family that owns the IT firm.
Monday’s meeting will see Modi looking for reassurances of the status quo from Trump.
With the H-1B issue off the table, Modi can focus on the usual defense relationship and explain how new tax laws, mainly the goods and services tax streamlining, among other things, is making India business friendly for foreigners too. In other words, we sent you our guys, now Mr. President, you can send us yours. Modi and Trump are both considered nationalists by political observers, so they are of like minds in that regard.
Source By https://www.forbes.com