America First: my 2 cents

by Raj Padmanabhan

Skills-based immigration deserves prioritization. I support the new bipartisan effort in Congress to ensure that H1B visas go to those educated in the US only. As someone who’s spent time with outsourcers such as TCS and Accenture, along with Indian startups, America should establish a caste system to keep the best and brightest. There’s a massive difference in attracting and retaining top talents like Elon Musk (Tesla), Sathya Nadella (Microsoft), and Indra Nooyi (Pepsi) versus enabling carpet baggers coming here under shell companies. They indeed replace American workers. While a small portion is incredibly talented, the majority come here just to outsource it to colleagues overseas.

Hundreds of thousands of carpet baggers then take advantage of chain migration to get US benefits (social security, Medicare) and provide for extended family members. There’s a massive infrastructure set up for Fortune 500 companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and American Express to keep costs low by importing and hiring these low-wage workers. Hopefully, the new legislation cracks down on such practices that would never be allowed to happen in Singapore or Australia.

As a response to the new legislation, I fully expect American companies to ramp up their offices overseas with tech workers. Outsourcing deserves deep re-examination. Additionally, there are unicorn startups that employ only US Executive and Sales teams. Product development takes place overseas. The new legislation should help tech startups that hire young American workers. Ask yourself when you buy software or hardware if it is being coded or made in America? Are you prepared to outsource opportunities which would otherwise goto to your children earning American college degrees? Will your kids have to move to Bangalore or Manila in search of work?

Additionally, I hope more employment opportunities go to highly-skilled US-based refugees that come from war-torn countries like Syria. The outsourcing companies like TCS, Infosys, and Accenture can train and hire skilled US refugees already authorized to work immediately. There’s no need to jump through hoops for an H1B worker.

I hope this recession is a clarion call for American companies to retrain and up-skill America First. Outsourcing companies can survive by investing heavily in the Midwest and the South, where American workers come at a lower cost. There’s no shortage of workers who’ll benefit from tech training as they leave behind dead-end careers. TCS, Accenture, and others can ‘insource’ more of their operations versus massive outsourcing.

Free trade should also be fair trade. America deserves the best and brightest from around the world.