Workforce Mobility

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The collaboration between the United States and India lie at the heart of our strategic interests in Asia. India has the sixth largest economy in the world in nominal terms and nearly one-fifth of the global population, with a long tradition of entrepreneurialism and democratic governance. India is already an important market for US goods and services and has the potential to become a crucial link in the global manufacturing supply chain.

While the fundamentals of this relationship are strong, below are some priorities to strengthen this partnership further in the coming year.

Through these priorities we see tremendous opportunity to deepen the US-India relationship, to the mutual benefit of both countries.

Industry is encouraged by President-elect Biden’s pledge to reverse the Trump Administration’s stance on a wide array of immigration policy, including the temporary ban on the entry of green card applicants as well as nonimmigrants seeking entry in the H-1B, L-1, J-1, and H-2B visa categories. In addition, the Trump Administration’s prevailing wage rule from DOL and its H-1B wage prioritization rule from DHS were both issued as midnight rules in the final two weeks of the Trump presidency.

The rules seek to favor those in the highest wage levels despite the fact that many recent graduates work in fields—such as science and medicine—that are essential to America’s economic recovery and its battle against COVID-19. For example, a hair stylist or hotel manager in wage level 4 making $75,000 in a rural area would be considered whereas a vaccine researcher, doctor or software architect making $150,000 or more but at a lower wage level would not be considered. Using wage as the sole proxy could prevent these essential workers from entering the country. Both rules should be immediately frozen and ultimately undone through the appropriate regulatory process. In addition, the Biden Administration should drop any defense of Trump’s restrictions in court and move to review and rescind the restrictive policies on high-skill immigration and PERM that Trump put in place at USCIS, DOS Consular Affairs, and DOL ETA through policy memorandums.

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