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Asia Minute: Trump Immigration Policy Sparks Fears in India

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
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President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration have drawn attention from a number of Muslim majority countries and others. But a different aspect of the emerging immigration policy in Washington is a focus in the world’s largest democracy. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

   

Front pages of newspapers across India are now dominated by an American phrase: “H-1B Visa.” 

 

From Bangalore to Mumbai and Srinagar, it was India’s top trending term on Twitter Tuesday.

 

The H-1B visa allows U.S. companies to hire foreign workers in specialty roles.  65,000 of those visas are allowed each year, and they are snapped up by U.S. technology firms.  Last summer, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond told India’s Zee News that “Indian citizens receive almost 70 percent of all H-1 B visas issued worldwide.”

 

 

A bill introduced to the U.S. House this week would more than double the minimum salary for recipients of H-1B visas, from $60,000 to $130,000.

 

Government and business leaders in India say their citizens would be hurt by that move.

 

The Economic Times of India reports an executive order may be coming with further restrictions on H-1 B visas.

All of this is pressuring the stock prices of Indian technology companies—some falling as much as 9 percent Tuesday.

 

A statement from India’s foreign ministry said “India’s interests and concerns have been conveyed both to the U.S. administration and the U.S .Congress at senior levels.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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