India and the United States are risking a fight over trade and technology. Both sides have applied new tariffs, and the Trump administration has raised objections over barriers American companies face.
Now, there's reportedly a new threat hanging over the relationship — the United States may be looking to hit India where it hurts by slashing the number of visas available to its skilled workers.
The Trump administration has told India it is considering capping the number of H-1B visas granted to some countries, Reuters reported Thursday, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter. The cap would apply to countries that force foreign companies to store data locally, according to Reuters.
"We have not heard anything officially from the US government on this matter," Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters.
The US State Department denied considering a cap on the number of H-1B visas.
"The Trump Administration has no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally," a State Department spokesperson told CNN.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to arrive in New Delhi next week, the first visit by a high-ranking American official since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his second term in office following a comprehensive election win last month.
Pompeo "looks forward to his trip to New Delhi next week to advance our strategic partnership," the spokesperson added.
Domestic Migration in the US - Americans are Moving South to Florida
A recent Census Bureau report on migration that took a look at a handful of data sets covering different aspects of where Americans are moving reinforced the trend of Americans moving south. The report noted that in 2018, about 1.2 million people moved to the South from one of the other three regions of the US, while just 714,000 moved out of the South, for a net gain of about 512,000.
According to that report, Florida had the most people moving in among the states, with about 566,000 people moving to the state in 2017. The Bureau noted that the Empire State was the biggest source of new Floridians, with about 64,000 New Yorkers moving to the Sunshine state in that year.
India may soon be staring at a large number of US-based expats returning to the country, as the rate of refusal of H-1B visa extensions goes up. According to reports, H-1B visa applications are undergoing greater scrutiny in the recent past, which has led to an increase in the number of requests for evidence (RFEs).
By filing an RFE, US visa authorities can seek additional information before they make a formal judgment on an application for the H1-B visa. When asked for this information, applicants must provide adequate evidence to establish the position as a speciality occupation, a prerequisite of the H-1B visa. An RFE can significantly slow down a visa process, thus increasing time and money spent on the application. If the visa authorities are not satisfied with the additional information, it can lead to a rejection of the extension.
According to data released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 60% of H1-B cases were issued RFEs in the first quarter of 2019. Worst hit are IT consultancy companies, which have seen higher denial rates for visa applications. USCIS denied 80% of Capgemini’s H-1B visa applications, as compared to a 1% denial rate for US-based non-consultancy companies such as Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
According to US President Donald Trump’s speech on Wednesday, as there are more companies moving back to the US, more additional workers are needed.
While the US government has cut legal immigration by granting fewer visas and approving fewers refugees, Trump remarked that he would like to see more legal immigration as US companies need workers to run the factories and plants. Also, he called for immigrants to move to US legally in the largest numbers ever and mentioned “We need people.”
US Signed a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada
According to US, the new trade agreement has advanced protections for businesses’ and workers’ interests, it will be the most modern, up-to-date and balanced deal. The new trade agreement called “United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA)” will replace the previous “North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)”.
Under the USMCA, it provides incentive to auto sector in using high-wage manufacturing labor. Autoworkers in US can be benefited from the new deal. Moreover, USMCA also take fair trade of agriculture products into account. The US believe USMCA can bring benefit to US businesses and workers, also help to reinforce transparency and stability in its currency.
The Harvard Business School professor William Kerr published a new book namely “The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society”, suggested why the US government should welcome more skilled immigrants.
Skilled immigrants produce lots of economic output which supported the US technology industry by writing softwares, designing products and starting business in US.
Skilled immigrants also act as a complement to the native workers by exchanging ideas with the locals.
The growth rates of housing prices slow down in 20 US cities
The growth rates of housing prices in July increased at the slowest rate in 10 months, it shows that the increasing mortgage rate is now being a more significant factor for potential house buyer. The slow down of growth rate also indicate that the demand for housing is increasing against the limitation of affordability.
For potential buyers, especially young buyers or first-time purchaser, although the growth rate of housing prices are still outpacing growth of wage, the prices may be more affordable now and they can get further relief as the appreciation of housing prices slow down.
According to Conference Board report released on 28, US consumer confidence has been increased by 4.3%, from 127.9 in July to 133.4 in August, which also hit record high since Oct 2000.
The surging US economy and consumer confidence help boosting sales of retailers. Target and Walmart, two of the largest retailers reported that, their sales growths in the recent quarter reached record highs not seen in at least a decade.
Walmart recorded an increase of 4.5% in sales last week , while Target reported an increase of 6.5%. Moreover, foot traffic to Target stores grew by 6.4%, which is the highest rate since 2008, indicating a surging US economy in this year.
US Justice Department released report on cyber-security operations and strategy on foreign actors
US Justice Department released a 156-page report regarding the cyber-security operations and strategy on foreign actors that influenced U.S. elections. The report focuses on several kinds of cyber-threats, it also mentions about what the Justice Department and intelligence agencies have done to alleviate the threats.
The report states the efforts paid to counter negative foreign influence operations towards US, especially influences that are related to elections.
For task force related to cyber digital, Justice Department plans to better inform the victims of cyber targeting. As FBI and US Attorneys’ officials are spread out across the US, it allows them to inform individuals and companies with ease. Also, New criminal statues are needed to prosecute these crimes. It is necessary to set up criminal statutes for crimes targeting foreign operations and spreading misinformation in the aim of affecting public opinion.
According to Commerce Department’s latest report, due to US export rose to a record high and increase in shipments of industrial materials and soybeans, the US trade deficit in April fell to a seven-month low record.
Trade gap is the smallest since September 2017, which is narrowed 2.1% to $46.2billion in April 2018. While trade gap in March is $47.2billion.
In April, exports of goods and services rose 0.3%, exports of industrial supplies and materials also reached record high. At the same time, imports of goods and services, and consumer goods dropped.
However, economist suggested that, US consumers’ preferences on exotic foreign goods remain unchanged; many US companies also prefer foreign goods in their production of products.
A senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte suggested that US economy is showing a faster progress in growth in the second quarter, although it is not on a stable footing. Besides, he also suggested that attention should be paid to trade tensions, as it is still a threat to US economy and might derail the growth.
According to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released by the US Labor Department, in March, there is an increase in number of workers quit their jobs voluntarily. This reveals that the confidence in the labor market increases, and is believed that the wage rate can be boosted this year.
The number of job opening in March hits record high, it is the highest job opening numbers since the data series started in 2000.
The increase in quit rate can become a upward pressure on wage. Most of the workers who voluntarily quit and change their jobs can receive higher level of wage after change, this shows that there are greater wage growth for workers to switch job.
Skills mismatch and lack of qualified workers are also causes that lead to growth of job opening. US businesses are trying to employ qualified workers in the market, the labor market is now getting hotter.
Increase in H-1B visa Application reveals strong demand for high-skilled foreign talent
According to National Foundation for American Policy’s report released in April 2018, compared with FY 2016, there is a significant 78% increase in the number of approved H-1B visa for initial
employment in FY 2017. The top H-1B visa workers’ employers in FY 2017 are US technology companies, including Amazon (2,515 new visas), Microsoft (1,479), IBM (1,231)Intel (1,230) and Google (1,213).
These technology companies are those that focus on research and development. The statistics also show that there is a strong demand for high-skilled talent in the US economy. Other than these large technology companies,
emerging technology companies such as Telsa, Uber and General Motors, may also increase their demand for highly-skilled foreign workers and researchers. However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services stated that, compared with the high H-1B visa application rate (190,000) in FY2018, the insufficient H-1B visa annual limit (8,500) cannot support the US economy size.
The US Metros with the highest number of H1-B Visa Approvals
Lottery for the visas in the H-1B visa program, which is the largest temporary employment visa program highly regarded by the technology industry
in the U.S., has already begun this year. Research showed that between 2010 and 2016 the majority of employers joining this temporary employment visa program
located along the metropolitan areas on the East Coast and in Texas, with almost 30% in New York City. However, the allocation might be different this year as the Trump Administration tightens the control.
The skilled immigrants’ entry and renewals of visas might be more difficult than before, ensuring the high standard of foreign skilled workers’ employment.
14 March 2018
International Student Reductions
US colleges are experiencing a downturn in incoming international students, attributed to a number of prominent changes. The escalating cost of college tuition, lengthened visa period,
reduction in F-1 visa approvals are the main factors contributing to the difficult financial situation that some US universities have encountered. Nonetheless, they welcome overseas students with open arms as they add diversity to the classroom and motivate the advancement of science and technology.
US EB-5 Investor Visa, known as the “golden visa”, has been gaining popularity over the past few years, owing to its comparatively simple requirements and transparent application process. Despite the fact that the Trump Administration intends to heighten the investment amount per applicant in the regulatory category, the "golden visa” probably remains
a favourable migration option for many, attributed to the generous exemption from education or income requirements and an enhanced accessibility to the Green Card. For more details about US EB-5 Investor Visa and securing immigration eligibility , please feel free to contact us.