Trump and Silicon Valley At Loggerheads Over H1-B Visa

Trump and Silicon Valley Set to disagree Over any Curbs to H1-B visa

President-elect Donald Trump is causing concern among California’s tech elite in Silicon Valley. After he campaigned on reducing immigration to America, Silicon Valley has now to wait nervously to see if he is going to make changes to the highly skilled worker H1-B visa programme. Tech leaders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have spoken out saying that the tech industry needs to be able to hire more not less skilled foreign software engineers and computer scientists to fill jobs.

In future US companies may be forced to hire less skilled US workers or be able to prove that they cannot fill the job from the local workforce. Immigrant workers founded over half of all tech start-ups, so if immigration is restricted this will have a negative affect upon innovation. Silicon Valley businesses also proposed giving Green Cards to foreign graduates after they have finished their studies at a US university. Unfortunately high profile cases such as where Disney sacked their tech workers and replaced them with Indian workers on H1-B visas have shone an unflattering light on this type of work visa.

But tightening up the regulations around the H1B via would make more sense than eradicating the visa, when there is patently a need for skilled foreign workers.

Trump has in the past defended the visa if there is a need for skilled labour that cannot be met locally and has in fact hired workers on this visa himself. Silicon Valley companies will argue that a technical worker has to be university educated at least, and that tech is a global market. If Trump wants America to be able to compete in the worldwide market then he will have to accept that with trade comes the free movement of skilled labour. Tech companies and workers from around the world will be watching to see what Trump does with highly skilled visas when he gets into the White House in January next year.

 

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