On Friday, Google has issued a recall note to American-based staff advising them to immediately return home after new President Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations for 90 days. Although the order directly impacts citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya, Google is clearly taking no chances here. Google’s Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, explained in a memo to employees that one of their employees rushed back to the United States during a trip to New Zealand before the order was signed. Pichai's memo went on to explain, “It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues... We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.” Google and Pichai’s sentiments echo those of several other large American technology companies, which have relatively large numbers of immigrants working for them. A spokeswoman for Google highlighted how the company are, “...concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.”
Google have asked any impacted staff to contact Google’s security, travel and immigration teams. The company is believed to have up to a hundred employees overseas at the moment, either on assignment or vacation and the company is worried that even with a valid visa, employees may not be able to return home if they are from one of the seven banned countries. Ava Benach, partner at immigration law company Benach Collopy LLP, explained: “No one is really sure whether a green card holder from these seven countries can return to the U.S. now. It’s fairly clear that an H-1B visa holder can’t.” The H-1B visa allows American businesses to employ graduate-level employees from other countries for technical posts. It’s likely to be a popular type of visa for Google employees. The New York Daily News reported that late Friday, a number of green card and visa holders were stopped from boarding flights to the United States of America.
Google’s caution over the changes to United States immigration law has been echoed by both Facebook and Microsoft. Facebook’s Chief Executive is said to be “concerned” by President Trump’s restrictions on immigration and Microsoft issued a securities filing on Thursday with a note that explained any new restrictions “may inhibit our ability to adequately staff our research and development efforts.” The Executive Order lasts for ninety days, giving the authorities time to draw up new immigration legislation.