Immigrants from Bharat serving across the world from Singapore, in far east, to the US in far west, have been visibly contributing to sustained progress and prosperity of the host countries. Will the new restrictions hamper it?
Prof. Bhagwati Prakash
The restrictions being imposed by several countries, including the US, UK, Singapore etc., in denying visas to Indian professionals, for saving jobs for native-born citizens would prove counterproductive for them as well as for the global economy as a whole. Every advance degree-holding and skilled Indian immigrant, as a consumer, entrepreneur or executive in the host country, facilitates to generate twice more jobs for the native-born citizens, besides contributing in the net economic value, intellectual wealth and entrepreneurial
ecosystem of the host economy.
Immigrants from Bharat, constituting knowledge- based Indian diaspora and serving across the world from Singapore, in far east, to the US in far west, have been visibly contributing to sustained progress and prosperity of the host countries, by adding net economic value and nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Therefore, the restrictions being imposed on the immigrant technocrats and skilled manpower from India by several countries, would cause unwarranted slowdown in the host economies as well as dampen the overall economic growth worldwide.
India-born people are largely behind the success of a host of multi-billion dollar multinational companies as well as countries with demographic deficit, as key executives, Chief Executive Officers (CEO) or as other professionals. The Indian CEOs of hundreds of companies like Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Soft Bank, MasterCard, PepsiCo, Citibank, Birkshire Hathway Insurance, Global Foundries, Cognizant, Net App, Herman International and so on, drawing hefty salaries and thus adding substantially to the net worth and revenues of these companies and GDP of the host countries. In the US, even IPOs of those companies get more over-subscribed, which have Indian co-promoter(s). Thus the Indian immigrants constitute the core for the economies as value- adding talents in the host countries.
The industrialised as well as industrilising countries are equally dependent on the Indian immigrant talent as well as skilled manpower for a broad spectrum of their knowledge- based sectors, to sustain employment, maintain economic growth and balance in the trade. As per the latest available data on immigrants, provided by the World Bank and the UN, India leads the world in sending immigrant manpower worldwide, with an outflow of 26 lakh people in 2015 alone, followed by China (18 lakh), Columbia (14.5 lakh), Lebanon (12.5 lakh) and Pakistan (10 lakh). The biggest host country has been US, accepting 40 lakh in 2015 alone. Scores of studies reveal that immigrants do not kill jobs in the US or any other host country. But, on the other hand immigrants help to create more jobs as consumers, entrepreneurs and executives in the host country. They also create huge demand for housing wealth into the country to trigger the entire construction value chain. A new research by Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) has found that 40 million immigrants in the United States have created $3.7 trillion in housing wealth to generate manifold turnovers and employment into several allied sectors and downstream or front end value chain. According to a 2011 study, immigrants with advanced degrees or even with some skill, after going to the US, even on temporary visas have created more jobs for native workers
The study of American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership ForA New American Economy, has analysed state-level employment data from 2000 to 2007, and found that every 100 foreign-born workers, working with advanced degrees had helped to generate additional 262 jobs for native-born workers. The study also found “that “American States with greater numbers of temporary workers in the H-1B program for skilled workers and H-2B program for less-skilled nonagricultural workers had higher employment among US natives.” According to this study, the addition of 100 H-1B workers was associated with an additional 183 jobs for native-born workers, while the addition of 100 H-2B workers was associated with an additional 464 jobs for native-born workers. Moreover, it has also been found that the immigrants are more likely than natives to start their own businesses. According to a report from the Kauffman Foundation, “Immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses each month than were the native-born in 2010.” Besides the immigrants fuel technological and scientific innovations. Even according to a report from the Brooking Institution, “The immigrants with advanced degrees are three times more likely to file patents than the US-born citizens. This higher probability of investments in new businesses as well as in generating intellectual wealth through research provides huge spillover benefits to U.S.-born workers by enhancing job creation and by increasing innovations”. We have examples to luminaries like Nobel Laureates Hargobind Khurana, Subrahmanyan Chandra Shekhar, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Amartya Sen, who had migrated to the US with Indian degrees and earned Nobel prize for their innovation. Indeed, from health care to space research and from FMCG sector to Biotechnology and IT, the people of Indian Origin are the prime resource, not only for US but for several industrialised nations.
By ignoring to see the contribution of Indian diaspora, the countries ranging from Singapore to the US imposing restrictions, over Indian immigrants, would dampen their own growth. It would less affect the bottom line of Indian Companies, than the domestic companies of the host countries opting to restrict immigrants from India. If the US proposal to double minimum pay requirement for the H1B visa to $ 1, 30,000 is enacted, it would severely affect the US corporate performance as well as the economy as a whole. Likewise Singapore has also recently stopped issuing visas to Indian IT professionals and in November last year, the UK government has also tightened visa rules, making it difficult for Indian IT professionals to work there. The overall protectionist restrictions by countries deriving economic value from Indian diaspora would no doubt hit the bottom lines of Indian companies and remittances to some extent for India as well. But, the impact on the economies of host countries applying these restrictions would be much more severe.
Indians make up the largest diaspora as 16 million Indians are spread across the world and constitute the cream of talent to power those host economies. The effect of their absence can be enormous for those host economies.
Estimates reveal that on account of superannuation alone in next 5 years, a deficit of 57 million is likely to be felt by the industrialised countries alone for manning various knowledge- based sectors. Out of which, 43 million would be available from India alone. Even today, if we take the case of IBM, it has 1.12 lakh Indians working in India and 43,000 in the US out of a workforce of one lakh in the US. Therefore Indian think tanks and the Indian diaspora need to sponsor simulated studies to dither away the regimes across the host nations for the Indian diaspora before they feel the brunt of restricting Indian migrants.
(The writer is Vice Chancellor, Pacific University, Udaipur)