On H-1B, Modi Can Have His Political Cake and Eat It, Too

By David North on June 6, 2019

The largest group of H-1B workers, all college grads, is from India; (China provides the next largest group). The government of India, led by newly re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP party, has consistently pressed the United States to preserve this program, and is resisting the Trump administration's announced plans to terminate work permits for spouses of H-1Bs; these people (93.4 percent of them are women) have H-4 visas, and a very high percentage of them are from India.

Meanwhile, the BBC's map of Indian election returns shows that most of the votes against Modi in the April and May voting came from the southern tip of India, which is the homeland of most of the H-1Bs (and thus the H-4s), as we have noted earlier. The current H-1B program allows employers — many of whom are based in South India — to discriminate against all workers (including Americans) who are not young Indian males from the south of that country.


So Modi is pushing the United States on behalf of a group of workers from part of the nation that is not friendly to his party at election time. An anomaly?

Hardly. Since India does not have an absentee voting system, this means that the H-1Bs from South India cannot vote, but they can, and do, continue to send money back to India. So H-1B in effect exiles many South Indians from India's election system, strengthening the party in power, while simultaneously stimulating their flow of remittances to the Indian economy.

What politician could ask for anything more?