The engine of growth for the Indian economy has been the lakhs of Indians
“ techies” and millions of Indian workers in the Gulf and Middle East . It is their hard earned foreign exchange that keeps the Indian economy going. The big words of Indian big business are really peripheral to foreign exchange earnings. India earned nearly US $ 70 Billion in foreign exchange in 2013-14 from remittances made by Indians working abroad.
There are said to nearly 3 lakh Indian Techies in the USA and Europe who earn high salaries and who remit those amounts to India. Under the present Immigration law of the USA, these Indian techies are really work-slaves. They cannot switch companies for a better paying job. Their spouses cannot work. There are a host of restrictions on them.
In the initial years of President Obama’s government, he was very hostile to India. In many speeches, he cited India as an example who took away American jobs. He made many negative references to the intense educational efforts of Indians. In the last 6 years, president Barack Obama has shown scant regard for Indian sensitivities. On any possible occasion, President Barack Obama made snide remarks about India and its hard-working people and how they are obsessed with education.
In fact, Obama took special delight in making the term “ Bangalored” popular , implying that an American has lost his job to someone in Bangalore. These witty remarks created a very hostile atmosphere for Indians and Indian software companies. A number of Indian software companies were penalized or even faced severe legal action. The fact that the American President was attacking Indians and their skills emboldened the US Embassy in India to refuse visas to thousands of Indians who were working in USA and returned for a holiday or some emergency at home.
The US Embassy and US Government un-fortunately show little sensitivity to Indians . The other anomaly was that spouses of Indians who were working in the USA on B-1 Visas ( work visas of a temporary nature extending upto 5 years,etc )could not work and hence they were sitting idle in the USA.
President Obama’s new Immigration policy :
The harsh defeat that President Obama’s democratic suffered in the recent bi-annual elections to the US Senate and US Congress has made him try a new course. The fact that the Latins ( Spanish –speaking people in the USA ) staying in the USA have voted for him and they are unhappy that he has not brought about a new Immigration policy is one consideration . It is a fact that for the last two years Obama has been trying for a compromise with the Republican party for a new Immigration policy. But that was never allowed to happen.
Now both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives ( Parliament ) are controlled by the republican party. This means that Obama can never get any legislation or policy through in its original shape . There is only one alternative and that is an executive order. So Obama is changing immigration policy through a Presidential Order.
This expected order will greatly help the Indian community living in the USA and also those Indians working on Temporary work visas, since their spouses can also work. This will enhance their incomes.
It is also expected that a huge number of Indians are staying in the USA illegally. They will also be regularized . Then there is the STEM category of foreigners. This category applies to those students , who graduated in US universities in Science, Mathematics and sciences. They will have a longer period to work in the USA after their graduation.
To summarize, the proposed new Immigration policy of Obama is a windfall for India and Indians. It is really a long journey for Obama, who started as a President who was a Protectionist-President to one who is changing the fate of Immigrants.