The new H-1B visa season has begun. It is well-known that India is one of the main beneficiaries of these temporary work visas which allow skilled workers to work on projects in the US. The big question is whether US President Donald Trump will turn his protectionist gaze to mess with the existing system.

The annual H-1B quota has been slashed over the years, and US presidential candidates such as John Kerry have campaigned for tighter limits well before Trump entered the White House. Recent research by economists Anna Maria Mayda, Francesc Ortega, Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih and Chad Sparber shows that the curbs on H-1B work has had three types of impact on the US economy—a deterioration in the quality of people applying for the visa, smaller companies losing out in the lotteries and no significant increase in employment of tech workers born in the US because of less competition from foreigners.

Of course, Trump is unlikely to be swayed by such evidence. The Indian IT industry must have a response if the H-1B quotas are cut further.

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