With a number of countries recently cutting back on allowing foreigners to work in their countries, a journalist from India, Ananya Bhattacharya, wrote on Quartz lamenting that “windows of opportunity” are “being shuttered” for her fellow countrymen.
In US, President Trump has signed an executive order to overhaul America’s H-1B visa for foreign workers.
“Industry bigwigs like Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and Wipro, have been prepping for these restrictive measures for nearly a decade now with the knowledge that ramping up local hiring amidst America’s chronic skills shortage could prove to be a challenge,” she wrote, speaking up for the Indian IT companies.
As for UK, she wrote that UK is “increasingly less hospitable for Indian students and workers alike”.
Under the new UK rules, short-term intra-company transfers, a favorite tactic used by Indian IT companies to move their workers to UK, would be discontinued. Some 30,000 Indian IT workers currently working in UK will not have their work permits renewed.
Quoting from NASSCOM, the association for IT companies of India, she also wrote that Singapore has been “shutting the tap down” on Indian workers.
“Singaporean authorities are also reportedly asking Indian tech companies based in the region to carry out labor market testing, which NASSCOM says violates the 2005 economic cooperation agreement between the two countries,” she said, pointing out that Singapore may be violating the FTA it signed with India.
“The total population of Indian techies in Singapore has shriveled to under 10,000.”
On the same day when President Trump signed the executive order, Australia abolished its 457 work visa. Indian nationals, not surprisingly, held the largest proportion of these visas in Australia.
Australia is replacing the 457 visa with two new types of temporary visas with stricter criteria: applicants will have to demonstrate previous work experience and a high level of English language proficiency.
“Plans for those (Indian nationals) who had wished to live and work in Australia in the future, however, have been foiled,” she wrote.
A day after Australia’s announcement, New Zealand also blocked foreign workers in a bid to put Kiwis first. To qualify as high-skilled labor in NZ, workers will have to earn at least 150% of the median income.
“The rising nationalism is going to cost Indians deeply,” Ms Bhattacharya lamented.
“They (Indian nationals) have consistently been in among the top three sources of migrants to New Zealand over the last decade, coming in first since 2014. Indians are also the second-largest and fastest-growing international student population in New Zealand but with job prospects dimming due to visa constraints, the trend might come to a halt,” she fretted.
No loss to US, UK, Singapore, Australia and NZ
The loss of Indian IT workers to US, UK, Singapore, Australia and NZ is not that big a deal.
In fact, it may be a blessing in disguise and a chance for these countries to start improving the productivity in their IT sector.
This is because, according to India’s own IT association NASSCOM, only 25% of their IT graduates are readily employable.
That means, 75% are junk.
Economic Times highlighted an example of a 25-year-old computer science graduate, Sandesh Kumar, supposedly from one of the top regional engineering colleges in India. Kumar considered himself to be the luckiest among his batch when he was recruited by Infosys Technologies.
But within three months, Kumar realised that he was having trouble with the initial training at Infosys, which is given to all new recruits. He found himself to be lacking.
“I actually sucked at everything – communications, language and understanding about some of the latest development tools,” Kumar admitted. “The company was kind enough to flag early that I might face hurdles ahead and I decided to quit.”
So, with Indian IT workers like Kumar, there is no big loss when countries start to eject Indian IT workers from their borders.
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