Many of the tech industry’s biggest and most influential companies on Monday criticized an executive order issued earlier in the day by President Donald Trump that temporarily halts issuance of work visas, including the H-1B for high-skilled workers, preventing immigrant workers from coming to the US until the end of the year.
Trump’s expanded travel restrictions will prohibit about 525,000 people from entering the country, including 170,000 green-card holders who have been prevented from entering the US since April, according to estimates provided to The Wall Street Journal by a senior administration official.
The order, which doesn’t apply to workers who already hold valid visas, will help save jobs for unemployed Americans amid thepandemic, the Trump administration said. Trump said unemployment quadrupled between February and March of this year.
“American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy,” Trump wrote in the order. “Without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand.”
But tech industry representatives warn that the decision will hobble companies’ ability to recruit highly skilled foreign citizens. About three-quarters of 85,000 allotted H-1B visas allotted each year go to people working in the technology industry.
Many tech giants cited the vital contributions immigrants make to their companies and the US as a whole.
“Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world’s talent or create uncertainty and anxiety,” Brad Smith, Microsoft chief counsel, said in a tweet late Monday. “Immigrants play a vital role at our company and support our country’s critical infrastructure. They are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most.”…Read more>>