Republican candidate of the 2024 US Presidential elections, Vivek Ramaswamy has stirred the hornet’s nest with his annoucment that he would “gut” the H-1 B visa programme if elected to the office. He has promised to replace the existing system with meritocratic admission.
“The lottery system needs to be replaced by actual meritocratic admission. It’s a form of indentured servitude that only accrues to the benefit of the company that sponsored an H-1B immigrant. I’ll gut it,” Ramaswamy said in a statement accessed by Politico.
“The people who come as family members are not the meritocratic immigrants who make skills-based contributions to this country,” he continued.
What’s the H-1 B visa programme and its significance for Indians?
H-1 B visa programme allows companies in the US, to hire nonimmigrant foreigners as workers in specialty occupations. According to the official website of US Department Of Labor, “a specialty occupation is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialised knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.”
The H-1 B visa programme is a win-win for both the employers and the workers as the former get to hire talented workforce which might not be available locally while the latter get to work in the US legally. Moreover, as per the guidelines on the official website of US Department Of Labor, employers have to pay wages to the H-1B nonimmigrant workers that are ” at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment – whichever is greater.”
Reportedly, Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1 B visa programme. As per reports, Indians made up to 73% of the 4.42 lakh H-1B workers in the 2022 fiscal year. Therefore, any change in the existing system will surely affect Indians.