Trump’s immigration crackdown has U.S. companies wary of hiring foreign tech workers

U.S. companies are thinking twice about hiring foreign tech workers amid uncertainty about immigration policies during the Trump administration, according to data released Wednesday by job searching site Hired.

The number of interview requests from U.S. companies to foreign tech workers dropped by 60 percent between the second and fourth quarter of 2016. Interest in hiring foreign tech workers ticked back up after the presidential election, but it was still down 37 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

Hired said that the decline was “likely the result of uncertainty around immigration policies” following the election.

Foreign tech workers were also less interested in applying to U.S. jobs after the presidential election. From the third and fourth quarter of 2016, the rate that foreign workers accepted interview requests from U.S. firms dropped by 4 percentage points.

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Hired, which has nearly 10,000 participating companies and 1.5 million job seekers, said it examined more than 175,000 interview requests and job offers from the past year.

Tech companies, including in Silicon Valley, have clashed with the Trump administration over its immigration policies.

They’ve spoken out against the president’s executive order that barred visitors from six Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court, though, allowed parts of the ban to move forward.

The Trump administration also recently delayed a “startup visa” program that allowed immigrants to stay in the United States while they grow their companies.

And while the tech industry wants to bring in more foreign workers through the H-1B visa program, Trump signed an executive order in April to ensure that companies use the visa to hire the “the most-skilled or highest-paid” applicants.

Hired, which surveyed 362 tech workers nationwide, found that 55 percent agreed that there is not enough tech talent in the United States given the demand, but nearly half also don’t think the current structure of the H-1B visa program is working.

The tech workers surveyed were from the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, Hired told SiliconBeat.

Since the election, 40 percent of the workers also considered relocating to another location.

“It’s clear that the U.S. remains an attractive place to work for tech talent from around the world,” wrote Lindsey Scott, who heads Hired’s communication team, in a blog post. “What’s less clear is whether we’ll be able to welcome them to work among us.”

Photo: Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, speaks as President Donald Trump listens during an American Technology Council roundtable in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Monday, June 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


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  • hoapres

    There hasn’t been any letdown in foreign tech hiring in Silicon Valley.

  • hoapres

    I am surprised.

    I haven’t been banned here (at least yet)

  • D Fresh

    Get over it, be legal or be elsewhere!

    • hoapres

      That’s the problem.

      We have legal immigration of tech workers displacing the American workforce.

  • Walt Schumate

    Guess they will just have to hire American tech workers.

  • mercantilist

    Many tech firms (and non tech firms) have dismissed Americans to hire foreign workers.