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The Travel Ban Turns into an H1-B Fight | Feb 7, 2017

Trump’s ban becomes an H-1B fight

– Computerworld | Security

“The U.S. technology industry warned President Donald Trump that his immigration order will hurt the U.S. economy by making it more difficult for businesses to attract overseas workers. The administration’s seven-country ban is, for the tech industry, a blinking caution sign to the world’s highly skilled population delivering this message: Come here at your own risk.

Tech firms see the market for highly skilled workers as being “globally competitive,” and any changes to immigration rules may inhibit their ability to recruit overseas. Most of these companies hire Indian nationals, who account for as many 70 percent of the H-1B visa holders.

Two hundred and fifty-one H-1B visa applications for people born in the seven banned countries were approved in fiscal year 2015 for computer-related jobs, according to a Computerworld analysis of government immigration data for that year. If new and renewed H-1B visas are counted for multiple years, the number will rise. The seven countries where the immigration ban would apply are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

FY2015 H-1B visas approved for people born in countries affected by Trump travel ban

Source: Computerworld analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data. Totals include fiscal year 2015 visa applications approved for renewal and change of status as well as new applicants, computer-related jobs only.
CountryTotal
Iran203
Libya20
Syria15
Iraq10
Yemen2
Sudan1
Somalia0

 

 

India freaks out over U.S. plans to change high-skilled visas

– CNN Money

“Amid the hue and cry over President Trump’s travel ban, news of another potential change to American immigration rules has set off a panic attack in India’s tech industry.

Major Indian tech shares took a nosedive on Tuesday on reports that Trump is planning to make changes to the H-1B visa program that allows skilled foreigners to work in the U.S.

Shares in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s biggest private sector employer, plunged more than 5% on Mumbai’s stock exchange, while other top firms like Infosys (INFY) and Wipro(WIT) fell by more than 4%.

TCS and Infosys declined to comment. Wipro did not respond to requests for comment.

India’s vast outsourcing industry employs millions of people. Its business in the U.S., where it provides engineering and other tech services to firms such as IBM (IBM, Tech30), Microsoft(MSFT, Tech30) and Citibank (C), is highly dependent on the H-1B visa.

The U.S. is worth about $65 billion to India’s tech industry. Indian media warned of a major setback ahead.

“[It] is a fact that these categories of workers are in short supply in the U.S.,” said R Chandrashekhar, president of Nasscom, which represents India’s software industry. Restricting H-1B visas would “have implications for both Indian companies and American corporations as well,” he told CNNMoney.

The former U.S. ambassador to India, Richard Verma, estimated last year that 70% of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually go to Indian workers. The visas, which are currently allocated by a lottery system, are hugely oversubscribed — demand for them in 2016 was three times more than the number available.”

….Continue reading @ CNN Money

 

The tech workers affected by the travel ban: ‘Things are confusing and scary’

– Guardian UK

“Murtadha al-Tameemi, 24, is an Iraqi software engineer for Facebook who lives and works in Seattle. Most weekends he drives for three hours across the border into Canada to visit his family – his mother and two brothers – who live in Vancouver. That is, until now.

Since Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking the immigration of people born in seven predominantly Muslim countries including Iraq, al-Tameemi won’t be able to leave the US because he might not be allowed back in, even though he has a working visa (H1B). Nor will his family be allowed to visit the US.

“It’s pretty upsetting,” he told the Guardian. His family fled Iraq as refugees and spent two years in Jordan before settling in Canada in 2015. “Ever since then I’ve made a point to spend as much time with them as I can, because we missed out on a lot of each other’s lives.”

He was in Vancouver attending the opening night of his younger brother’s first play when he received a “frantic call” from his lawyer last week telling him to return to the US immediately, before the executive order was signed. He’s now back in the US and has no idea when he’ll next see his family.

Al-Tameemi is one of many people born in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen affected whose lives have been torn apart by the executive order.

The ban dealt a blow to the technology industry, which relies heavily on foreign-born software engineers. Not only have families such as al-Tameemi’s been separated, but many visa holders are now afraid to leave the United States in case they are refused re-entry and detained.

Anahita Moghaddam was born in Iran, is a German citizen and has lived in the United States since the summer of 2010. Also a green card holder, she is a Buddhist and runs a coaching practice to teach mindfulness and compassion to individuals and companies, many of which are based in Silicon Valley.

Since Trump’s executive order, Moghaddam’s lawyer has advised her not to leave the country.

“It feels absurd that I am affected by this ban to filter out terrorists. I cannot get my head round it. This is not the way to counter terrorism, it’s just creating separation and anger,” said the 34-year-old, who lives in New York.