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THE NEUTRAL ZONE

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suspended multiple categories of work visas for foreign employees, prompting swift backlash from America’s big tech companies. Among the visas delayed through the end of the year are H1B visas for tech workers and H2B visas for low-skill jobs.

Administration officials say the freeze was implemented to help Americans struggling through pandemic-induced economic fallout and “safeguard jobs for unemployed Americans.” Migration Policy Institute, a D.C. think tank, estimated that the restrictions will block 219,000 temporary workers.

Players in the technology industry, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and more, have criticized the move, saying that the restriction is more likely to harm the U.S. economy. Amazon in a statement said that an inability to hire high-skilled professionals places America’s global competitiveness at risk, while Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda told The Verge that U.S. companies need access to “the best talent from around the world,” especially during a time when that talent is needed “to help contribute to America’s economic recovery.” 

Other critics of the measure say it is unlikely that those who were laid off will be able to fill the specific jobs needed in the tech industry. Some economists state that there is more evidence supporting the theory that fewer immigrants conversely reduce job opportunities. A Pew Research poll conducted in the spring found that 64% of adults believe legal immigrants hold jobs that U.S. citizens do not want.
 

MEDIA CONTRIBUTION

Factbox: Who is affected by Trump’s new rules on work visas? – Reuters – 6/22/2020. The effects of the proclamation may not be immediately felt as the issuance of work visas had already dramatically declined due to the coronavirus pandemic. … J-1 visas are for cultural and educational exchange. The order applies to J-1 holders “participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program.”

US suspending work visas to have limited impact, say sources – The Economic Times – 6/23/2020. US President Donald Trump temporarily suspending entry of foreign workers such as IT professionals into the US will have a limited impact on India with a maximum of 30,000 visas being at stake during the six-month restriction period, sources said on Tuesday. Indian government, they said, will take all steps to reinstate the visas to ensure movement of skilled workforce across the globe.

Breaking: Trump to suspend new visas for foreign scholars – Nature – 6/23/2020. “It is really sad that when this country has so many of the greatest research institutions in the world, greatest universities in the world, that when something like a pandemic happens, one of the first things the government does is to blame international researchers for unemployment,” Doğan says. “That’s crazy, but it’s also very sad.”

Tech Firms Claim Trump’s Visa Moratorium Will Hurt Business Due to ‘Shortage’ of ‘Talent’ in U.S. – National Review – 6/23/2020. The administration explained that its decision stemmed from the fact that “more than 20 million United States workers lost their jobs in key industries where employers are currently requesting H-1B and L workers to fill positions.” In May, a group of Republican senators cited rising levels of American unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic in a request that Trump ramp up his guest-worker restrictions.

Let the Market Decide on Temporary Worker Programs – National Immigration Forum – 6/22/2020. Migratory pathways the world over have been shut down or slowed due to public health concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during the pandemic’s spread, the U.S. remains the only country in the world to use purely economic rationale to implement immigration restrictions.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Luis von Ahn @LuisvonAhn on Twitter, 6/23/2020: Imagine if Real Madrid Or Barcelona could only hire players from Spain. They probably wouldn’t be the best in the world anymore. This is what the new executive orders will do to American technology companies.

Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 @TrumpWarRoom on Twitter, 6/23/2020:  Black Americans and Hispanic Americans will benefit the most from limiting immigration during the GREAT AMERICAN COMEBACK! Even Democrats like Bernie Sanders have supported this in the past. They know that MASS IMMIGRATION LOWERS WAGES. 

Brad Smith @BradSmi on Twitter, 6/22/2020:  Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world’s talent or create uncertainty and anxiety. 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.

TProphet @TProphet on Twitter, 6/23/2020:  3/ Q: “Sure, these jobs could be done by Americans. But why would you rob the America of the incredible things that immigrants will do later in their lives here?” A: There are a finite number of entry and mid-level IT jobs here. Americans need them to start their careers.

Elon Musk @elonmusk on Twitter, 6/23/2020:  @nytimes Very much disagree with this action. In my experience, these skillsets are net job creators. Visa reform makes sense, but this is too broad.

The World @TheWorld on Twitter, 6/23/2020: Critics of the new visa suspensions say Trump is using the pandemic to achieve his longstanding goal to limit immigration.

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