President Donald Trump's first week in office has been a very polarizing one, to say the least, with executive orders issued for repealing Obamacare, building a wall on the border of the United States and Mexico, and banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump's ban on travelers and refugees from the predominantly Muslim countries was met with extreme backlash from both civilians and corporations such as Google, Apple and Facebook, with the American Civil Liberties Union breaking fundraising records as it filed a lawsuit against the White House for the order.
However, it seems that Trump is not yet finished, and the next executive order being planned with have a greater effect on the technology sector.
Trump Executive Order To Overhaul Work-Visa Programs
According to a Bloomberg report, the Trump administration has drafted an executive order that will overhaul the work-visa programs depended on by companies in the technology industry in hiring tens of thousands of foreign workers annually.
"Our country's immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest," a copy of the draft proposal acquired by Bloomberg reads. The proposal goes on to state that the visa programs to allow foreign workers in the United States should be administered in a way that will protect the civil rights of Americans workers and current legitimate residents first.
The foreign work-visa program, known as the H-1B program, was initially created to help companies in the United States to recruit employees from overseas when they are not able to find qualified employees within the country. Companies usually bring in foreign workers for highly technical positions, including many jobs within the technology industry. However, there have been recent allegations that companies have been abusing the program to hire foreign workers who would agree to lower pay compared to American workers.
This is proven untrue by Howard University associate professor Ron Hira, though, as his research revealed that Google, Apple, and Microsoft are paying H-1B workers median wage of over $100,000, compared to the less than $70,000 median wage being paid by outsourcing firms. This means that tech companies are hiring highly skilled employees through the program and not just hiring less skilled workers that can take the place of Americans in the company.
The Possible Effect On Tech Companies
In Trump's presidential campaign, he repeatedly promised that he will be creating more jobs for the American people, placing "America first." This next executive order will do just that, but it will have a widespread effect on how businesses operate in the United States, particularly in the technology industry.
If the executive order is implemented, it will drastically impact how American technology firms such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft recruit workers. According to the proposal, these companies would need to try hiring Americans for open positions first, and if they decide to recruit a foreign worker, the priority would be given to the most highly paid one.
Congress caps the number of H-1B visas given out per year to 65,000, though the exact number that is granted is higher due to exemptions available to workers from certain countries and academic institutions. It is currently unclear when and in what form the drafted executive order by the Trump administration will be put into effect and how the aforementioned number of granted H-1B visas will be affected.