Huawei and other Chinese tech firm's employees are now effectively subject to a new US travel ban. That's following a newly-reported announcement from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Although technically visa restrictions, as opposed to a traditional travel ban, the move will make it more difficult for Huawei and others to work with US companies.
The ban will be imposed by the US State Department. And it will apply to any companies engaged in or abetting 'human rights violations and abuses' globally.
This 'travel ban' won't impact all Huawei employees the same
The new rules for entering the US won't necessarily affect all Huawei employees in an identical fashion though. US government officials will, presumably comprehensively, determine which individual employees can or cannot enter. As outlined during the announcement of the ban, only "certain" individuals will be kept from entering.
The specifics of what will cause a visa to be revoked or entry denied have not been made public knowledge, however. Instead, Mr. Pompeo alluded only to employees engaged in or found to be propping up human rights violations. The associated violations and abuses have not been detailed either.
As noted by the source, that also leaves up to question exactly how many of Huawei's employees will potentially be stopped at the borders. Huawei's website boasts no fewer than 194,000 employees. And those are spread out across more than 170 countries and regions globally.
The language used in the announcement seems to suggest that any of those employees could face the restrictions.
It also isn't immediately clear how the US government will keep track of so many workers. Or what criteria will need to be met to determine who is or isn't engaged in the violations. It's not immediately clear whether there will be any recourse available to employees who may end up mistakenly flagged.
No response from Huawei yet
Now, Huawei has not yet responded to the new restrictions placed against its company or its Chinese counterparts. It has repeatedly denied spying allegations leveled against it. But this latest restriction doesn't center around those same complaints. The focus here is human rights violations and abuses.
The restrictions likely couldn't come at a more inopportune time for the company either. Huawei was recently denied access to take part in the UK's 5G networking infrastructure build-out. It's also facing an uphill battle sourcing parts for its devices and 5G equipment.