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Scrapping the H1B Visa Program Would Hurt Both US and India

While the H1B visa program has benefited both India and the United States, its absence will lead both countries to lose supremacy over the global IT market, according to a new study by a US think tank, the Center for Global Development (CGD).

Restricting the work visa would not solve any problems but would instead force the industry to shift to countries like Canada, said Gaurav Khanna, fellow at the CGD and co-author of the study.

The combined revenue for the two countries as a result of the visa program reached US$17.3 billion in 2010, with IT solutions boosting productivity everywhere, from banks on Wall Street to auto plants in Detroit.

The visa program might have affected employment opportunities for US-born computer science graduates, but any job losses are far outweighed by its benefits; the expansion of the software development sector has led to the creation of numerous jobs in related sectors, the report noted.

The study said that US-born employees were collectively wealthier by about US$431 million in 2010 because of the H1B. It also implies that without the visa program India and the United States would not have been so strong in the global IT marketplace.

India also benefited from the visa program, as its export revenue grew and more educated young people were able to land jobs. Since H1Bs expire after three to six years, many of these workers returned to India, taking with them technological know-how and connections. Some of them launched their own technology startups back home.

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Their return, coupled with the increased demand for IT services, allowed India to eventually surpass the US in software exports, the report noted.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.


  • Not this stupid “study” again… Train your replacements, get laid off, never work again. In the developed world, we call it the “race to the bottom”. Sure, the business owners get more short-term profits, but as a whole society pays dearly as the profession erodes away…

  • To fix the abuse, before giving out IT jobs to Indian consulting companies as contracts, they need to advertise jobs in a centralized Government website, all legal immigrants and US Citizens need to be encouraged to apply, USCIS should monitor fake job ads. by Companies or collecting resumes and not selecting people after fake interviews, then H1B lottery should be replaced with Bidding, Bidding salary should start with $1 more than the maximum salary of US Citizen doing the same responsibility in the same location, in that way Companies won’t fire Americans for cheap labor, also a lot of OPT students apply with fake 10 year experience, even lying their age and immigration status.