How do technologists feel about the temporary ban on H-1B visas? Blind, which anonymously surveys tech-industry workers, found that quite a number are impacted in some way by Trump’s executive order. (Blind’s survey size was 3,100 workers.)
Some 53 percent of respondents said they were on a work visa. However, a third said that the impact of the ban on them would be limited (“e.g., restricted travel or career opportunities”), and only five percent said that a family member was harshly impacted by it (“e.g., a rescinded job offer”).
Many technologists also said they would try to mitigate the impact as best they could. Some 17 percent said that they would try to find a new job/position at a different company if they had to, while 34 percent said they’d look for a job in a new country; around 17 percent said they’d end their job search.
Roughly 43 percent said they’d go somewhere else in North America (i.e., Canada or Mexico) if they had to find a job in a new country, while around a third (33 percent) said they’d pursue employment in the U.K. or EU.
Although the ban is set to expire in 2021, that could change if Trump wins re-election and decides to extend it. Many of the biggest tech companies aren’t pleased with the move; Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, said on Twitter that he was “deeply disappointed by this proclamation,” echoing almost exactly the language used by Google CEO Sundar Pichai. These companies, of course, rely on the H-1B visa, and the proclamation will interfere with their hiring plans for the coming quarters.
With the ban, the Trump administration wants to spur the hiring of U.S. citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In the administration of our Nation’s immigration system, we must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor,” the order states. “Historically, when recovering from economic shocks that cause significant contractions in productivity, recoveries in employment lag behind improvements in economic activity.”
The big question now is, will tech companies actually hire more U.S. citizens for open roles? Or will they lean into hiring more employees for their offices in other countries, including Canada?