India’s NASSCOM Companies Ask Trump to Keep the H-1B Pipeline

This photo taken on May 22, 2019, shows Indian youths at a class for a three-month course
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images

The United States needs Indian visa workers to help Americans recover from the coronavirus disaster, says NASSCOM, an India-based trade group that delivers hundreds of thousands of Indian workers into U.S. white-collar jobs.

The claim was made in a letter to President Donald Trump by NASSCOM, which is worried that Trump will soon narrow the unpopular pipeline of Indian visa workers into U.S. white-collar jobs.

“These include healthcare, hospitals and online services and playing key roles to develop treatments for this disease — to name a few vital services,” said a statement by NASSCOM, according to a report by the Times of India. “Highly skilled workers on non-immigrant visas (NIVs) such as H-1Bs and L-1s, are playing critical roles in the delivery of these services and the development of these products.”

The full-court press comes as Trump and his deputies wrap up plans to block some of the labor pipelines that deliver huge numbers of Indian and Chinese contract workers into U.S. white-collar jobs. The temporary suspension has been bitterly opposed by many business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Koch network, which includes companies who prefer to hire compliant foreign workers instead of outspoken American graduates.

India’s foreign secretary is making the same pitch to Trump.

“We have also highlighted that high-skilled Indian professionals are engaged in the fight against Covid across various fields including doctors, nurses, tech workers developing solutions for companies fighting the epidemic,” he told the website in early June. “We hope the review of non-immigration visa by the U.S. government will take into account the long term benefits of H1B visa for U.S. competitiveness and not affect provision of essential services at this critical hour,” the minister said.

India’s economy benefits from outsourcing, which keeps at least 700,000 legal visa workers in U.S. jobs.

Outsourcing is very unpopular with Americans, but numerous U.S. politicians have sided with business groups that import workers from India.

In May, reform groups slammed a so-called “Gang of Nine” GOP Senators who urged Trump to keep the pipelines of foreign workers. “We ask [that] you cautiously approach any changes to nonimmigrant guest work program,” said the letter by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Todd Young (R-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and James Lankford (R-OK).

On June 14, Virginia GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman lost his GOP primary because of his votes supporting the H-2B and H-1B programs. On May 30, Breitbart News interviewed Riggleman’s victorious challenger, Bob Good:

“Probably, the greatest area of concern for many voters across the district … is his votes on immigration and American jobs going to foreign workers, allowing more and more foreign workers to come in and flood our markets and take American jobs at lower wages,” Good continued.

“It is a critical issue for many reasons and frankly, it is the number one priority of our campaign, is reforming immigration,” Good said. “Not just ending illegal immigration … we both know the Democrat Party doesn’t agree on that, but not just ending illegal immigration but managing legal immigration in a way that puts America first and American workers first. My opponent has voted time and again to allow hundreds of thousands of more foreign workers to come in and take American jobs at lower wages.”

On May 7, 2019, Riggleman touted his support for the H-2B pipeline from Mexico and Central America: “When I speak with business owners in my district, they make it clear that we need more laborers. These H-2B visas will help to fill that need,” said Congressman Riggleman. “I campaigned on finding common-sense solutions to 5th District problems, and this increase in visas will help.”

Riggleman also sponsored HR.1044, which would have encouraged more Indian workers to take white-collar jobs from U.S. graduates via the OPT pipeline. The bill expanded the incentive by greatly increasing the number of Indians who can get green cards from employers in exchange for low-wage work.

Breitbart News posted the long list of GOP legislators who backed the HR.1044 giveaway. The Senate version of the bill, S.386, was blocked in the Senate by most GOP Senators.

The legislators’ support for outsourcing testifies to the power of money in U.S. politics, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. If the money were not being dangled in front of them, he said, GOP and Democratic politicians would likely oppose the outsourcing. They would “get to talk about getting Americans, women, and minorities into good STEM jobs,” he said.

“But because the moneyed interests have such a bottomless demand for cheap foreign labor, they make their wish felt in no uncertain terms when delivering their donation checks to Republicans in Congress and to Democrats,” he said.

GOP legislators “have internalized this idea that tech firms have to have foreign labor, that landscaping firms have to have foreign labor … For the most part, they have talked themselves into thinking those programs are good, and a big part of the reason for that is there is so much money behind it,” Krikorian said.

Roughly 1.3 million foreign contract workers hold white-collar jobs in the United States, including roughly 600,000 H-B workers. This large population also provides cover for an additional population of illegal white-collar workers, including many who arrive on the B-1 visa for company training and education.

The H-2B, H-2A, and J-1 visas add at least 400,000 blue-collar workers and manual laborers during the spring to the fall season.

NASSCOM’s board includes executives from roughly 25 U.S. and Indian companies, including the Indian branches of  Accenture, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, Amazon, Genpact, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell. The firms create wealth for U.S. and Indian investors by delivering cheap labor to U.S. jobs and by training U.S.-based Indian workers to perform U.S. jobs to India. This U.S.-India Outsourcing Economy is used by many Fortune 500 companies to sideline Americans in favor of cheaper, compliant foreign workers.

“Indian I.T. (Information Technology) players have had an offsite-onsite employee ratio of 80:20 [and Indian] employees with H-1B visas have been at the core of their strategy, given that they cost ~20% cheaper than US-based [American] employees,” according to an Indian research firm.

Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC, or email the author at


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