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US Elections 2020: What is at stake for India?

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Washington, Nov 02: The November 3 presidential poll is regarded as "election of a lifetime" for it being held amid a pandemic and seeing the "highest participation" of India-American. Irrespective of who wins the race, there's a good chance India will continue to remain important for the US.

Trump, a Republican, is expected to be challenged by former US vice president Joe Biden, who is set to be nominated by the Democratic Party in August.

US Elections 2020: What is at stake for India?

Amid a blossoming friendship between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this election could open for a new chapter with Joe Biden as president. Or, India could potentially continue walking the tightrope with the US on issues of trade, terrorism, and immigration.

Trade, technology, investment

Firstly, the Indian relationship with the US would be on matters of trade, immigration, investment, and technology.

A Joe Biden victory could mean more structure and stability between the two countries, but the Trump administration's obsession with redressing trade deficits, curtailing legal and illegal immigration, and isolating Iran will no longer factor prominently in US policy.

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A second turn for Trump will likely redouble its efforts to stem immigration, rebalance trade, and harden its stance on Iran, all of which would contribute further to Indian discomfort.

Indian- Americans

The Indian-American community is set to play a vital role in some of the key battleground states like Texas, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania in the US presidential polls.

Reports say due to the aggressive outreach of Trump, there are indications of a sizable swing of the community away from the Democratic Party they have traditionally supported and voted for.

Business leaders endorsing Biden-Harris

Over 1,100 prominent members of the Asian-American community, including Indian-American elected officials, artists, business and community leaders have endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.

The list of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) endorsing Biden for President and Harris for Vice President includes prominent Indian-Americans who are serving as elected officials as well as those from the fields of healthcare, business and arts.

The 1,100 signatories represent AAPI leaders from all backgrounds and ethnicities across the country, and build on the previous list of 250 AAPI endorsers that was released in July 2020.

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H-1B VISA and Immigration

The Trump administration has proposed to scrap the computerised lottery system to grant H-1B work visas to foreign technology professionals and replace it with a wage-level-based selection process.

The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

With this proposed rule, the Trump administration is continuing to deliver on its promise to protect the American worker while strengthening the economy.

However, the Trump administration's reforms will markedly jeopardise the chances of foreign students seeking to enter the US workforce at entry-level wages. Crucially, many of these students come from India.

On the other hand, Biden has also noted that he would immediately overturn the H-1B temporary ban issued by President Trump.

Biden will work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labour market and not used to undermine wages, it said.

Then, Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs.

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Then, Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs.

The immigration policy paper also talks about increasing the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions. Currently, the number of employment-based visas or Green Card is capped at 140,000 each year, without the ability to be responsive to the state of the labour market or demands from domestic employers.

As president, Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration-and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high US unemployment.

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    Biden believes that foreign graduates of a US doctoral programme should be given a Green Card with their degree and that losing these highly trained workers to foreign economies is a disservice to our own economic competitiveness.

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