As US shuns skilled Indian staff, China opens arms

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/7 20:38:52

As the US tightens controls over H1B visas, Indian engineers are welcome to work and live in China.

Indian workers are the largest group of applicants for H1Bs, a US visa category for skilled immigrant workers. US President Donald Trump's tweaks in the H1B visa program could undercut the professional careers of nearly every Indian engineer in Silicon Valley. 

The US is Indian engineers' dream destination, but chasing the Silicon Valley dream is much harder than before. The whole value chain in India that delivers engineers to Silicon Valley now needs a plan B: Helping Indian engineers get visas to work in China.

China wants to make itself an attractive destination for Indian engineers. For many Indians who have never been to China, it's hard to imagine that many Chinese companies have become first-class enterprises, standing shoulder to shoulder with famed US technology giants such as Google. Chinese tech leaders including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent really did it. 

Some statistics show China has become the world's second-largest digital economy behind the US. The country's booming digital economy creates new employment opportunities for overseas engineers. The average salary for an engineer in China is lower than what workers accept in Silicon Valley, but much higher than for engineers in Bangalore.

Southwest China's Guizhou Province has opened its doors to Indian engineers. Official data showed more than 9,500 big data-related enterprises including Alibaba, Tencent, Google and Apple operate in Guizhou, which aims to become a hub for big data and cloud services. Some companies in Guizhou provide convenience for overseas engineers in terms of housing, insurance and transportation. Engineers live a much more comfortable life in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, than in Bangalore. What's more, Guiyang is much closer to India than Silicon Valley.

China's digital economy deserves more attention from Indian engineers, but only top-ranking talent will be hired with high salaries. China isn't a sanctuary for Indian workers who can't get H1B visas as the US tightens the controls. What China needs is real talent.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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