Google, Amazon and Tesla criticize Trump’s crackdown on H-1B and L-1 visas

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the Judicial Committee of the United States House of Representatives.

Liu Jie | Xinhua News Agency | fake pictures

Technology leaders have criticized President Donald Trump’s latest immigration crackdown on visa programs his companies rely on to employ thousands of employees.

Trump signed an executive order on Monday suspending work visas abroad, including the L-1 visa that allows companies to transfer personnel from overseas offices and the H-1B visa that allows companies to hire highly qualified in certain fields.

Sundar Pichai of Google, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube and Elon Musk of Tesla were quick to condemn the restrictions, as were representatives from Amazon, Facebook and Twitter.

“Immigration has contributed enormously to the economic success of the United States, making it a world leader in technology and also Google, the company it is today,” Pichai said on Twitter. “Disappointed by today’s proclamation, we will continue to lean on immigrants and work to expand opportunities for all.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook said via Twitter: “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 for this proclamation. “

Visa restrictions will come into play on June 24 and will remain in effect until at least until the end of this year.

Wojcicki, YouTube CEO, said on Twitter that immigration was “central” to the history of the United States and the history of his own family. “My family escaped danger and found a new home in the United States.”

Pichai “is right,” he continued, before adding that YouTube “would join Google to support immigrants and work to expand opportunities for all.”

The Migration Policy Institute predicted that up to 219,000 workers would be blocked as a result of Trump’s executive order.

Musk said he disagreed with the action “a lot” on Twitter. “In my experience, these skill sets are net job creators,” he wrote. “Visa reform makes sense, but this is too broad.”

Trump said the executive order had been introduced to help the American economy recover from the coronavirus, adding that it will free jobs for Americans.

However, Amazon, which received more H-1B visas than any other company in 2019, described the move as “nearsighted” in a statement.

“Preventing highly qualified professionals from entering the country and contributing to the economic recovery of the United States puts the global competitiveness of the United States at risk,” the company said.

Facebook also condemned the measure. “President Trump’s latest proclamation uses the Covid-19 pandemic as justification to limit immigration,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “Actually, the move to keep highly-skilled talents out of the US will make our country’s recovery even more difficult. Highly-qualified visa holders play a critical role in driving innovation, on Facebook and in organizations across the country, and that’s something we should encourage, not restrict. “

Microsoft President Brad Smith said: “Now is not the time to separate our nation from global talent or create uncertainty and anxiety. Immigrants play a vital role in our company and support the critical infrastructure of our country. They are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most. “

“Incredibly bad politics”

Box CEO Aaron Levie described the executive order as “incredibly bad policy at all levels” and added that it will not make the United States better or more competitive in any way.

Organizations representing the technology sector also questioned the executive order.

The Internet Association, founded in 2012 by various companies, including Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook, focused on the H-1B program, which allows 85,000 people with “highly specialized knowledge” to move to the United States with their families.

“The diverse and successful H-1B visa holders in the United States create American jobs and help our economy grow,” said Sean Perryman, the association’s director of social impact, in a statement. “All industries benefit from a visa system that allows American companies to attract the best and the brightest no matter where they are from.”

The executive order could also harm smaller tech companies and the US startup ecosystem. USA

Matt Turck, a venture capitalist at FirstMark, noted that foreign entrepreneurs can start their businesses outside of the United States if they can’t get a visa.

“I was on an H1B visa for 10 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “He started a company with co-founders also at H1B. Hired American employees served American clients. This was our American dream. But today the same company could start anywhere. Why would the next generation bother if they can’t get a visa ?? “