US tech companies write to Trump against banning H-1B


The new restrictions on US immigration that Trump administration has planned to implement has not only irked the Indian IT sector, but also the tech giants in the US.

Companies Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, Accenture and many more, who have merited immensely from this immigration program, have petitioned the government for a continuation of visa regimes that allow them to hire highly- skilled immigrants as they will be pivotal to America’s economic recovery in a post-COVID-19 world.

According to a report by media reports, Washington-based advocacy group ITI, of which the tech firms and others are members, said it is “concerned” the Donald Trump administration is contemplating suspending or restricting non-immigrant work visas, in a letter addressed to the US president last week.

“As the recent jobs report highlights, firms are anxious to get their employees back to work and the labor market is showing promising movement. The technology industry, including our foreign-born workers, are vital to sustaining these recovery trends,” the report quoted Jason Oxman, President and CEO of ITI, from the letter.

The US Chamber of Commerce has also written a similar letter to the US president pointing out that as the economy rebounds, American businesses will need assurances that they will be able to meet all their workforce needs.

“As the economy rebounds, American businesses will need assurances that they can meet all their workforce needs. To that end, it is crucial that they have access to talent both domestically and from around the world,” US Chambers of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohuewrote in a letter to Trump.

US-India Business Council told ET that it endorses the letter sent by Donohue. HCL Technologies CEO C Vijayakumar and Citi India CEO Ashu Khullar along with Bharat Forge Deputy MD Amit Kalyani are among the global board of directors of the US-India Business Council.

It is quite evident that this new regulation might disturb the long-standing relationship between the two countries in a big and everyone concerned do not vote for it.

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Intel are among the top H-1B employers with an approval rate of more than 96 percent. Amazon, Microsoft and Google alone have close to 20,000 petitions approved in FY19, a report revealed. They are followed by Facebook and Apple at more than 7,000 approved visas.

“If companies cannot hire new H-1B workers or continue to employ their current H-1B workers, innovation and productivity growth, particularly that which is achieved through patent production, would suffer greatly to the detriment of our overall economy,” Donohue wrote in his letter to the US President.

Technology industry groupings point out that even during the pandemic, in May 2020, nationwide in the US, one in four highly-skilled tech workers across sectors were immigrants.

Arguing that the technology industry, including foreign-born employees, is enabling many Americans to continue to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, ITI’s Oxman said the sector is playing an essential role. More so, as it enables the U.S. economy to move activities online and maintain vital digital infrastructure to keep businesses running securely and people connected.