iNDICA NEWS BUREAU
The technology industry reacted with dismay at President Donald Trump suspending H-1B, L and other temporary work permits.
Industry leaders called the order disappointing and expressed fears that it would drive the best and the brightest away from the shores of America.
From Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Apple chief Tim Cook to NASSCOM, the apex body for the $180 billion dollar IT BPM industry in India, words like “unfortunate” were used to describe the order.
“The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant visa programs, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak,” Trump said in the order.
Indian nationals receive nearly 70 percent of the roughly 85,000 H1-B visas issued each year. The restrictions apply only to new work visas and not to existing holders who are currently in the US.
“The proclamation issued today barring the entry of certain nonimmigrants into America and setting new conditions for others is misguided and harmful to the US economy,” NASSCOM said in a statement Tuesday.
“Thousands of US corporations, universities, medical facilities, research institutions, directly and through their associations have asked the President not to take such action because of the harm it would do now and going forward as the country reopens and recovers. Such sentiments were also echoed by dozens of Republican and Democratic members of Congress and governors,” the statement added.
NASSCOM president Debjani Ghosh also tweeted: “This is especially bad for the US economy and innovation…that too at a time when the US should be doing all it can to build back the economy. Recovery without access to talent is going to be an uphill challenge.”
Google CEO Pichai expressed his disappointment in a tweet: “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation — we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”
Apple CEO Cook expressed similar emotions, tweeting: “Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream. There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation.”
Hemant Mohapatra, partner in the venture capital firm Lightspeed India Partners Advisors Llp that funds startups, saw in the order gains for the startup ecosystem in India.
“Since last night recvd 2 emails frm friends @ cos like Google abt returning to India. This feels different. Ppl are sick of the uncertainty; ban was a personal betrayal. Indian startups pay well (some roles are at bay area salaries) and do VERY exciting work. COME HOME AND BUILD!” he tweeted.
Mona Gandhi, founder of the skilling platform Upraised, seemed to agree. She tweeted: “H1b ban is absolutely bonkers! This man is going cuckoo.”
She followed it up with the punch line: “He’s surely going to succeed at making Canada great again!”