It might be too early to make such a declaration, but a lot of pointers indicate that such an unthinkable thing has already started. Has the Great American Dream that the Indian families so fondly cherished started to grind to a halt? Or is it just a temporary pause?
Remember those days when the H1-B visa quota was reduced from 150,000 to 65,000 and the furore it created during the Bush regime. Even Bill Gates slammed the US govt for such a myopic decision of not wanting to get in as many people from developing countries such as India into the USA.
A few years ago, when the H1-B visa window opened, it was filled up within a matter of few hours. This year, the window has been open for 7 weeks already and still 20,000 vacancies still exist. What happened?
Owing to sluggish US economy, the H-1B visa programme, once the most sought after among Indian professionals, still has nearly 20,000 slots vacant, seven weeks after the American authorities started receiving applications for the fiscal 2010 beginning October this year.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday said it has so far received approximately 45,500 H-1B petitions against the Congressionally-mandated cap of 65,000.
This is in contrast to the previous years when USCIS had to resort to computerised draw of lots as it used to receive petitions outnumbering the cap several times within the first few days of opening the scheme.
The USCIS said it has received about 20,000 petitions for the advanced degrees category. However, it would continue to accept advanced degree petitions since experience has shown that not all applications received are approvable, the USCIS said in a statement.
For the fiscal 2010, the USCIS started receiving H-1B petitions from April 1. In the first five working days, it received 42,000 H-1B petitions. In the month and half since then, USCIS has received juts 3,500 more H-1B petitions, indicating the slump in demand for H-1B work visas.
This is mainly attributed to the current economic crisis, high unemployment rate in the US and also partly to anti-H-1B sentiment prevailing in America at present.
Agree that Obama has stopped giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs outside the US, but then why the reluctance of the Indians to go to the US now?
A recent survey showed that almost 86% of Indian students in the US believe that better days lie ahead for India. A lot of them favour a return back to India inspite of the salary cut they might have to take. I know a few friends who have left it all and moved back. I read the blog of one such person who writes about his experiences in India post his move back from the US.
Have we reached the end of the brain-drain that was so endemic in the 80s and 90s? Only time will tell.