America is great because of its willingness to accept talented immigrants.
This is what Nandan Nilkani, the billionaire founder of Infosys Technologies, will tell President Trump if given the opportunity.
“If you really want to preserve the ability of the United States … to compete globally, you have to be open to outside talent,” Nilkani said on the sidelines of the CNN Asian Business Forum in Bangalore.
Infosys ( It is the second largest outsourcing company in India, and a major recipient of US H-1B visas. The documents allow the technology company to employ a large number of Indians in American jobs. )
The Trump administration is now considering major changes to the visa program. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in January that Trump will continue to talk about reform of the H-1B program, among other things, as part of a larger immigration reform campaign.
Visa restrictions may affect Indian workers severely.
India is the number one source of high-skill employment for the American technology industry. According to U.S. government data, 70% of the highly popular H-1B visas go to the Indians.
Shares in several Indian technology firms – including Infosys – have fallen spectacularly for two weeks, amid reports of an impending business visa holders.
Nilkani said it would be wrong for the administration to continue to do so.
“The Indian companies have done a lot to help American companies become more competitive, and I think that should continue,” Nilkani said. “If you look at Silicon Valley … most companies have an immigrant founder.”
India’s contribution to the industry – especially at the higher levels – has been significant. Current CEOs Google ( And )Microsoft (For example, they were born in India. )
But Nilikani, who is also the architect of India’s ambitious biometric identity program, suggested that India would ultimately benefit from any new restrictions placed under Trump’s “America First” plan. If talented engineers can’t go to the US, they will stay in India.
“This issue of visas has always appeared in the United States every few years, especially during the election season,” he said. “It is actually accelerating the development work [in India]Because … people are investing more to do business here. ”
Nilkani cited his own projects for the Indian government as an example.
The Bangalore-born businessman left Infosys in 2009 to manage India’s massive social security program, known as Aadhaar. As a result of this initiative, the vast majority of India’s 1.3 billion people have a biometric identification number that allows them to receive government services, execute banking transactions and even conduct Biometric payments.
“It was built by highly talented and committed Indians,” Nilkani said. “Many of them had global experience, but they brought in those talents and expertise to solve India’s problems.”
Nilkani said that the country’s large number of youth are increasingly choosing to stay at home and infants.
He said, “It is India first.”
CNNMoney (Bangalore, India) First published February 13, 2017: 2:19 PM ET