Indian-American entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has termed the H-1B Visa an “indentured servitude” and vowed to replace the “lottery system” with an “actual meritocratic admission”. Adding that the US needs to eliminate chain-based migration, Ramaswamy 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,” he added.
H-1B is a non-immigrant visa highly sought after by Indians. Under the H-1B visa regime, US companies employ foreign workers, mostly Indians and Chinese, in occupations that require some theoretical or technical expertise.
Ironically, the Republican leader has himself used the visa program at least 29 times in the last five years. US immigration authorities have approved H-1B visa applications for his former company Roivant Sciences 29 times between 2018 and 2023 to employ foreigners.
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. As of March 31, the company and its subsidiaries had 904 full-time employees, including 825 in the US, POLITICO reported citing SEC filings.
Ramaswamy is seen as main challenger to fellow Republican and former US president Donald Trump. According to the first poll debate, Ramaswamy’s candidature was indorsed by 28 percent of the 504 respondents followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 27 percent, and Mike Pence with 13 percent. Another Indian-American presidential aspirant Nikki Haley received the vote of 7 percent.
(With agency inputs)