In a Whitehouse proclamation, Donald Trump has introduced a number of visa restrictions on skilled workers, this has caused anger amongst tech companies. These companies heavily rely on these programmes to recruit their workforce as reported by CNN.
These including extending the restriction on the L-1 visa that allows companies to transfer employees overseas. The H-1B program that is for specialist occupations is also going to face restrictions. Trump has made this move in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to attempt to protect the labor market.
Tech Companies Angry at Trump’s Visa Restrictions
Many large tech companies were quick to condemn the move from the Presidential office. These firms generally rely heavily on the above programs and the restrictions introduced will have a big impact on their workforces’.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that he was, “Disappointed by today’s proclamation” and that Google would “continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all”.
Twitter’s head of public policy and philanthropy, Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, believes that the policy will end up hurting America more than helping it.
Underlying the policy is the idea that it would help the US economy recover from the pandemic. However, a company spokesperson for Amazon has pushed back on this. They said the policy “puts American’s global competitiveness at risk.”
Estimates suggest that this policy would result in 219,000 temporary workers having their visas blocked. Facebook also hit out at Trump in a statement which argued the policy masked wider motives. “President Trump’s latest proclamation uses the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for limiting immigration.”
Industry Groups Also Hit Out
The statement went onto say, “highly-skilled visa holders play a critical role in driving innovation”. Elon Musk also said that he “very much” disagreed with Trump’s decision. Although it is hardly surprising Musk has had his say on the topic given his history of outspokenness online.
The Internet Association, which has many high profile members, specifically called out the H-1B program.
Trump has targeted this visa in the past and it continues to be controversial. Jason Oxman, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council also complained about the decision. He said the policy will have a”dangerous impact on the economic recovery.”
Trump’s relationship with tech companies is not exactly in the best of shapes after issues with free speech and Twitter.
Other tech companies such as Snapchat has also begun to stop promoting the President on its platform. Therefore, we can observe this ongoing battle between the President and the technology sector is not going anywhere soon.