Will Trump’s immigration order affect the tech sector?


President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is causing havoc at airports across the country and despite complains and the negative feedback it’s received over the weekend from high-ranking Republicans, tech companies, movie stars and quite a number of individuals, Trump is still defending his executive orders and won’t take any action to fix it.

From the looks of it the Trump administration is working on a new immigration-related order which might deliver a blow to American tech innovation. According to a document obtained by Bloomberg, Trump is looking to make it harder for top tech companies including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and other tech companies to hire talent from other countries. Other companies based in India such as Infosys and Wipro who bring in specialized employees to handle tech departments at other corporations will definitely be affected by this move as well.

The new work-visa programs would force tech companies to first offer jobs to Americans first, and only then recruit foreign workers, with priority given to the most highly paid.

As seen in the draft proposal; “Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest. Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American employees and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”

Bloomberg states that from recent years there have been allegations that visa programs have been abused to bring in cheaper workers from overseas. The report says the top recipients of the H-1B visas are outsourcers. President Trump’s rumored move might have a larger impact on Indian companies than American tech companies.

If firms are using the program for cheap labor, I think it will affect them, and they will have to pay workers more. If tech firms are using the program for specialized labor, they may find there are more visas available.

Ron Hira
Howard University professor

According to Hira’s research tech companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are paying H-1B workers more than $100,000, while median wage for outsourcing firms was less than $70,000. This indicates that American companies go after highly skilled employees, which of course will benefit the company more, whereas Indian outsourcing firms might seek less expensive talent.

Trump’s rumored visa order might not make it more difficult for the tech sector to hire essential, high-end workers. But then again, the Muslim ban is causing a stir right now, and some companies suggests that Trump’s administration did not think it through. These immigration policies might make it harder for American tech giants to recruit people from overseas.

Companies such as Google has created a total of $4m crisis fund ($2m from the company and another $2m in donations from employees) following US President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-dominated countries.

We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US?.

Airbnb has also announced that it would find temporary places for people affected by the travel ban. While the housing is available for those affected by the Trump order, Airbnb said its focus is on people trying to travel to the US and are stranded.

What do you think of this move?

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, television personality, politician, and the 45th President of the United States.

Born and raised in Queens, New York City, Trump received an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. In 1971, he took charge of his family’s real estate and construction firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which was later renamed The Trump Organization. During his business career, Trump has built, renovated, and managed numerous office towers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. He owned the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants from 1996 to 2015, and has lent the use of his name in the branding of various products. From 2004 to 2015, he hosted The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC. As of 2016, Forbes listed him as the 324th wealthiest person in the world and 113th richest in the United States, with a net worth of $4.5 billion.

In remarks made following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump stated that he would support a database for tracking Muslims in the United States and expanded surveillance of mosques. Trump’s support for an American Muslim database “drew sharp rebukes from his Republican presidential rivals and disbelief from legal experts.”

On December 7, 2015, in response to the 2015 San Bernardino attack, Trump further called for a temporary ban on any Muslims entering the country. He issued a written statement saying, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” which he repeated at subsequent political rallies.

The next day, December 8, 2015, the Pentagon issued a statement of concern, stating Trump’s remarks could strengthen the resolve of ISIL. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, and the Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, both issued statements in response to Trump’s press release condemning him. Trump was also criticized by leading Republican Party figures, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

Following Trump’s controversial comments on Muslim immigration, a petition was begun on the British Parliament’s e-petition website, calling on the UK government’s Home Secretary to bar him from entering the country. The total number of signatures exceeded the required half-million threshold to trigger a parliamentary debate. On January 18, the UK’s House of Commons debated whether to ban Trump from the country; however, while some in the House condemned Trump’s remarks and described them as “crazy” and “offensive”, most were opposed to intervening in the electoral process of another country, and a vote was not taken.

Trump later appeared to modify his position on Muslims. In May he stated that his proposed ban was “just a suggestion”. In June he stated that the temporary ban would apply to people originating from countries with a proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies. He also commented that it “wouldn’t bother me” if Muslims from Scotland entered the United States.

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