In light of the economic and job crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump has officially suspended the issuing of H-1B visas, which are popular among Indian IT professionals, along with other international work visas, until the end of the year 2020.
The decision, which has put the jobs of thousands of Indians working in the US in jeopardy, has triggered a meme fest on Twitter, targeting both the #NamasteTrump event as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Tuesday, sarcastic comments wrapped in hilarious memes were pouring from all directions on social networking platforms in India. #NamasteTrump and #H1B are trending hashtags on Twitter.
Corona was knocking at our door, but Modiji invited 'My friend Donald' in an exorbitant #NamasteTrump event!— Dr Pooja Tripathi (@Pooja_Tripathii) June 23, 2020
Return - Trump suspended foreign work visas including #H1Bvisas and L1, leading to lay off of 5,25,000 Indian IT professionals.
Bajao Taali and Thaali! pic.twitter.com/WijCtOpvKE
After successful Namaste Trump, India's so called friend, #DonaldTrump sent his thanks with Suspension of H1-B visas .— Jyotsna Shambhavi (@JyotsnaShambha2) June 23, 2020
Trump is supporting the Aatm Nirbhar Bharat initiative. 🤦♀️
Now what to uninstall 😂😂...I mean that's trending🤣🤣🤣#NamasteTrump#H1Bvisas
By not issuing newer visas for foreigners, President Trump aims to prioritise guaranteeing jobs for pandemic-struck American nationals. The decision is estimated to be able to free 525,000 jobs in the US amid rampant unemployment. Immigration to the US has also been frozen for the time being.
India’s apex industry body NASSCOM criticised President Trump’s decision and labelled the visa suspension "misguided towards the US economy".
Google’s Indian-born Sundar Pichai also took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation - we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 22, 2020
The decision is likely to expose Indian IT firms to the risk of losing around three percent of their revenue this year. Indian IT and ITeS companies have set up over 1,000 global delivery centres in about 80 countries throughout the world and most of these centres are in the US.
The US grants 85,000 work visas annually, out of which nearly 70 percent are taken by Indians, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data for 2017. At the time, the USCIS noted that out of the 3.4 million H-1B visa (non-immigrant visa) applications filed in the decade to 2017, Indian applications made up around 2.2 million.