Vows to end H-1B visa programme and replace lottery-based system with meritocratic admission
Terming the H-1B visa programme “indentured servitude”, Vivek Ramaswamy an Indian-American Republican presidential aspirant has promised to “gut” the lottery-based system and replace it with meritocratic admission if he wins the race to the White House in 2024.
Ramaswamy himself has used the visa programme 29 times. From 2018 through 2023, US Citizenship and Immigration Services approved 29 applications for Ramaswamy’s former company, Roivant Sciences, to hire employees under H-1B visas.
Yet, the H-1B system is “bad for everyone involved,” Ramaswamy was quoted as saying.
The H-1B visa, is the lifeline for Indian IT professionals, a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies in the US depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Ramaswamy, who is himself the child of immigrants, has captured headlines in the past for his restrictionist immigration policy agenda.
Stressing the need for eliminating chain-based migration in the US, he said “The lottery system needs to be replaced by actual meritocratic admission. It’s a form of indentured servitude that only accrues to the benefit of the company that sponsored an H-1B immigrant. I’ll gut it.”
“The people who come as family members are not the meritocratic immigrants who make skills-based contributions to this country.”
Ramaswamy stepped down as chief executive officer of Roivant in February 2021 but remained the chair of the company’s board of directors until February this year when he announced his presidential campaign.