President Donald Trump had promised fundamental changes in the US immigration program during his presidency campaign. Now his administration has set new regulations for the H-1B visa which Silicon Valley is highly dependent on.
Donald Trumps had expressed his controversial opposition against immigrant workers in the US before. On Monday his administration began to revamp the H-1B visas which allows US employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations on temporary basis. Silicon Valley companies have been dependent on this kind of visa as it allowed them to hire global talents in order to compete in various fields of technology. The regulations for this kind of visa indicate that the employee must have highly specialized knowledge in his field and at least have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
According to a new announcement by The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, entry-level computer programming jobs are not qualified as a specialty occupation to receive an H-1B visa. The Justice Department has also warned that “It would look closely at any employer that showed a preference for hiring H-1B workers instead of Americans” as New York Times has reported.
Many American companies are now planning to open an office in Toronto or Vancouver to move their employees up north in order to preserve their talents. A newly formed Vancouver-based company, called True North has already started to offer $6,000 packages for individuals that want to come to Canada to speak with world-class immigration professionals and walks them through the process as TechCrunch has reported.
Trump’s administration had called the H-1B visa as a “cheap labor program” that could lead to jobs being “stolen” from Americans. What’s wrong with this mindset is that startups especially in their early stages are not able to pay high salaries to their workers and instead would offer their employees equity in the company. Choosing between a startup and a stable company is a risky decision for employees since the startup could eventually fail. But by having equity in a company that could later be valued millions of dollars, it could give the right incentive to the employees.
Many of the tech companies in silicon valley were built with the hands of immigrants from Iran, Pakistan and India. Experts believe that these new regulations could really hurt the companies in the Valley. What’s your take on this issue?