US President Donald Trump is open to immigration of skilled workers who can add to innovation, a top executive of India’s Mahindra company in the US has said amidst the row over possible changes in H-1B visas which, experts believe, would hit India’s booming IT sector.
“I think Trump is for skilled workers. I don’t think he’s saying I don’t want any immigration. He’s talking about getting skilled workers, which will add innovation and technology to this one and we have a lot of Indian scientists,” Mani Iyer, president and CEO of Mahindra USA told PTI in an interview.
Mahindra, which has been in the US for just two decades, has now emerged as number three top selling tractor company in the country. With a nationwide network, Mahindra also provides employment to thousands of people here.
“We know about Indian (companies) adding so much value to the US economy, but at the same time, we have to also see how do we become a local brand. How do we employ local people? How do we add to the communities, and how do we talk of what the brand does for the market, rather than talking about how do we outsource the staff out of this country and other parts of the world,” Iyer said responding to a question on H-1B visas.
“So, if you make significant investments here, and talk about what is your plan in the country, and how local you can get, and how, what value addition you can do for the local economy, I think that’s a brilliant move. Then there is no question of immigration and H-1B visa,” he said.
Iyer insisted that Trump is not against getting skilled workers. “At the same time, we don’t want to lose employment here, and no person of any country would like to lose employment. So I think he’s talking the right language,” he observed.
“You just have to see it in the right perspective and align to, and look at the good part of his perspective, rather than picking holes and then start beating it down to death. In my opinion - his principles and what he wants to do for the country is very right,” Iyer said.
Iyer was in Washington DC last week to attend a reception and interaction hosted for him jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. Iyer is also chairman of CII-India Business Forum.
According to Iyer, both Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are working to improve business environment.
“He (Trump) is trying to cut regulations, taxes. I think he is a business-minded guy, which is very important for any economy to be stable-growing,” he said.
The top Mahindra executive said Trump needs to be given time.
“I totally believe in these policies. You just have to give him time and see how we can shape up. I am not talking about protectionism, it’s more economic nationalism,” he said, adding that under Trump Administration there are significant opportunities for not just Mahindra, but any Indian company, for that matter, to come to the US.
“But at the end of the day, they have to have the patience and the perseverance to survive,” he said citing the success story of Mahindra USA.