China Eying Highly Skilled Indian Engineers

Written by Aditya R Shetye

President Trump has started to deliver on his campaign promises within the first month of his presidency. Case in point would the review of H1B visa policy. There have been speculations that the minimum salary for H1B jobs would be raised to $100,000 per annum. If a bill like this gets passed, the number of H1B visa holders who would qualify to retain their visas would drop significantly.

Taking advantage of this uncertainty and chaos surrounding US’s skilled worker immigration policy is America’s biggest economic and business competitor, China. Just like the US, it is hoping to attract people with skills in technology, innovation and research, with intention of making China the technology and innovation hub. There is a general impression world over that Indian techies have played a significant role in the technological innovations in the US. Xi Jinping’s government wants to follows US’s footsteps by attracting skilled Indian engineers as it believes improving the country’s technology and research related talent pool will encourage big IT firm to take notice and help the country become a technological superpower and thus help maintain its status as an economic superpower.

Also, by attracting skilled engineers, it can increase its attractiveness index and be seen as a viable location for global IT firms to set up research and development centers across China. Many global IT firms have stayed away from investing in China due to lack of availability of talent and China’s strict and nationalistic rules surrounding internet and website access. China will have to make quite a few changes to its IT policies to be able to match the US’s footstep to attract and retain, both investors and talent alike.

Attracting India technology talent pool won’t be easy, given the geopolitical situation between the two countries in the past couple of years. Also the recent stance taken by China in the UN Security Council of trying to protect some of Pakistan based international terrorists, and its recent move to block India’s entry into Nuclear Supplier Group has further soured the relationship between these two Asian economic powers. As per an article published by the state run Global Times, China will have to work hard to attract science and technology talent from India. India is already has an established IT services and research market with almost all major technology firms having a base there. Trying to lure talent from this established IT services market is going to be a daunting task for China.

Only time will tell if China is able to successfully execute on its vision, but going by 2016 numbers, where it granted permanent residency to 1576 foreigners (an increase of 163% over 2015), it definitely seems convinced that it is the right way forward.

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