Most of the talk from commentators so far, when it comes to the H-1B visa arrangements in America, is about jobs moving back to the US. We’ve written about it many times. But what if it were to have the opposite effect – so jobs pack up from the US and head for, say, India instead?
That’s the possibility raised in an article from the Hindu Times, which concedes that there are no certainties as yet. But if employment is cheaper in India than in the US, which is pretty much a given, the incentive to keep jobs in America goes down quite dramatically.
This will be much to the distress of the American president, who sees protectionism as a means of keeping American jobs at home. However, if – as the article suggests – the cost of a visa is likely to increase, then the likelihood of this driving jobs away from rather than towards the USA is bound to increase.
This is to say nothing of the prospects of job threats actually coming from elsewhere rather than India. The advance of robotics and artificial intelligence are arguably great things, but they leave the lower-level, transactional-only worker somewhat rudderless. The fact, cited in the article, that Indian technology industry body NASSCOM has found it difficult or impossible to source people with IT skills in the US makes this even more of a threat; if the majority are unskilled and the unskilled jobs are the ones that will vanish, there’s a problem that goes way beyond any individual country’s shores.
The article also goes into detail on transfer of knowledge not happening when an Indian company recruits American locals – it queries the basis of a lot of deals that are going on at the moment.
Our hope at Intelligent Sourcing is that the president wakes up and invests in some training and upskilling of workers rather than protecting jobs from outsiders, when the outsiders aren’t the problem.