So little time… so little to do

May 16, 2007

Finders keepers, losers weepers?

Filed under: arbit,geeky — Priyam @ 2:48 am

Fact : The record number of H1B applications on the very first day forced the use of a lottery based system of deciding who gets to be kept back and who gets to pack their bag. Fact : This trend is more likely to continue till some form of remedial action is taken.

Like most other countries, I like to believe that the political will-force in the US lives in a realm quite apart from the realities facing the land it governs. A cap on the number of H1B visas to be granted each year is one of the many things that bring this fact to the frontline. Of course, this does not affect the very people who elect their governing body, so it is a matter not readily published in the front pages of the daily media. Instead it makes headlines in countries which make their presence felt in every corner of the work force here. But let’s take a closer look at what has and might happen. I leave it to the quicksand of time to reveal what will eventually turn out to be true.

As would be true with any place, Americans are definitely not a happy lot with their jobs been taken offshore in want of cheaper labor. Neither can one expect to be greeted with a broad grin when you come to their land to earn your bread. This is but natural. For fact, it is one of the symbiotic relationships that perhaps affect either party in a good way and bad. While people shout at their jobs being handed over to “foreigners” nobody seems to care for the revenue created when the product of these jobs are sold in these very places. On the other hand, while my country continues to worry about brain drain, it never seems to complain about the steady flow of foreign exchange in its coffers. Win some, lose some.

But here comes the interesting part that does not seem to directly affect the lot in either shore. The H1B criterion as seen from a student’s perspective. If you contact anyone who has been gearing up to face the realities of higher education in the US, you will find that an extraordinary amount of time, effort and money put into the  whole process. While some bright and some lucky ones find themselves on the payroll of the universities, others are forced to bear the brunt of the raw side of the currency conversion rate to support their formal education. The returns in the form of intellectual or monetary property due to this influx of students makes no surprise the reason for the universities to market their education in countries like India and China. From the students point of view, this burden is still bearable staring at the future which promises a good return of investment…….. but only if one is able to work for a couple or more number of years after graduating. Place a cap on the visa, and what you get is the harsh reality of being left high and dry with heavy bank loans to repay. This hardly makes a case for leaving ones dear and near ones in search of higher education and perhaps the options of a better life, economically, even after returning to the motherland, as one would have promised at the time of being granted the much coveted student visa.

How does India stand to gain from this ? For starters, this will certainly make one double think whether it is worth investing lump sums in an education which can be obtained at a fraction of a cost in ones own motherland. The ratio of return would also probably be much higher, given the economic boom in India. But is the lack of action on the part of the US enough to ensure a check on brain drain in India. Definitely not. It will only be a matter of time till some form of affirmative action is put in place or some other country appears to glitter brighter. I believe, this is the right time for India to spring forward and embrace actions to make sure this extra wave of students are granted their right to quality higher education which can be beneficial to the national growth.

Whether some years down the line this situation prevails and I am told to pack my bags and head home is something left to be seen. I am sure, I will be able to head back with a bright grin and tears of joy.

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1 Comment »

  1. nice blog

    Comment by Allblogspots — May 16, 2007 @ 1:05 pm | Reply


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