-Kishore Gogar*

President Trump has issued an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. The move, which has raised a series of legal questions, protests around the country as people who had previously been approved to come to the United States are being detained at airports. The order states that “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES:

And the justification for the executive order is to protect Americans, by ensuring countries who are allowed do not have hostile attitudes toward America, its founding principles, Constitution and American Law.

It is also the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malicious purposes.

The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security is also required to submit four joint report on the progress of implementing this order. First report within 30 days of the date of this order, second report within 60 days of the date of this order, and the third report within 90 days of the date of this order, and a fourth report within 120 days of the date of this order, to the President.

We need to appreciate that America is a country of immigrants. America provided the necessary environment and infrastructure which in turn prompted the people residing in various country to come US and undertake various activities like research, software development etc. CEO and top executives of many big corporates are immigrants. US also granted the equal status to such resident without any discrimination between US citizens and citizens of other country coming to US for study or business purposes. Even Steve Jobs was son of an immigrant, as per Apple CEO Tim Cook

The Trump’s order puts an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees; a temporary ban on all refugees; a temporary halt to the admission of people from seven Muslim-majority countries; and a directive that religious minorities, which by implication means Christians in many cases, get priority among refugees eventually admitted to the United States. Some parts of the order, such as the targeting of the seven countries, appear at first to be temporary. But they could stay in effect for long term or indefinitely at Trump’s discretion. We also need to understand that presently, Republican’s (Trump party) are in dominance in the Congress, which will facilitate Trump to pass bills at quick speed.

Though the Court has put a stay on this executive order and has blocked the federal government from deporting citizens of seven countries who were detained at U.S. airports over the past days or so as a result of Trump’s executive order, this order has created an environment of uncertainty and confusion in the mind of people working in US, irrespective of the country to which they come.

The executive order is an unprecedented and discriminatory assault on whole groups of people that plays to our worst fears,” said Royce Murray, policy director at the American Immigration Council. “It’s not unreasonable to expect backlash from countries around the world who want to show the United States that this is the wrong way to go.”

This executive order of US president Trump to deny visa to seven countries has far reaching implications. Even the wage limit for HB1 visa is being doubled may add as insult to the injury. This will increase the cost of the companies as they have to offer higher remuneration to meet wage limit criteria for H-1B visa.

Iran has promised to “reciprocate” over what it called a “flagrant insult to the Muslim world.”
When US is imposing restrictions for H1B visa, Japan is in the processing draft a new Law which will expedite the issuance of Green cards with permanent residency status to Highly skilled professionals of other Country. This proposed bill is intended to reduce the time required in issuance of green card.  Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also welcomed the immigrants.

Indian industry has a share of around 70% of H-1B visa. this includes both new and renewals by the US government. Indian Government which is struggling from brain drain can take advantage of it and can turn this executive order as blessing in disguise by making the necessary facilities, environment and infrastructure for Indians working in US. This can further boost Indian Information Technology sector. Indian IT sector is very dynamic and will surely emerge stronger by making itself more robust and sustainable. Would like to quote the statement made by Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons that “Donald Trump has given new challenges that will make us reinvent itself”. So this H1B visa and visa ban may prove to be a blessing in disguise for Indian economy.

Another important area is US education sector. Presently, US is the preferred destination for foreign students and is the leading country in terms of maximum foreign students. Over one million international students attended American colleges and universities in the 2015-2016 school year, an increase of around 7% over the previous year. As per UNESCO people studying outside their country is expected to increase to 7 million by 2020. These foreign students generally pay full tuition fee and surcharge also because of their foreign origin.  As per Moody (paywall), these foreign students are around 5% of total students and constitute 10% of total tuition fee paid. As per the Association of International Educators these international students have contributed about $32.8 billion to the American economy during the 2015-2016. There are colleges who rely or we can say dependent on the full fees paid by these foreign students. American universities look to international students for diversity, talent, and to augment their resources. International students are required to obtain a student Visa and before coming to US for study the foreign students has to select a school /college to attend so as to be eligible for a student Visa.

If US president Donald J. Trump increase restrictions on immigration to the US, it is going to have negative impact on such colleges and many American universities will be severely adversely hit. While years will be putting restrictions other countries who aspire to increase their share are providing various facilities.
Though through this executive order Trump perhaps is delivering on his poll promises but it would have been in fitness of things to consider and analyze beforehand all other important factors having strong bearing impacting to many in various ways of such decision taken in isolation.
We have to wait and watch as only the time will tell its exact implications.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

*Kishore Gogar has experience of over 31 years in the fields of finance, legal, regulatory matters, the last 20 years of which has been in Telecom. Presently, he is Chief Controller-Corporate Governance at Spectranet, a leading internet service provider. Commentator on USA affairs.


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