A draft proposal that cast limitations over a range of visa programs is promoted by the new U.S government. This includes the H-1B program, investor visas and work visas. The H1-B has become a popular pathway for high-skilled foreigners work at U.S companies. At the same time, U.S based companies are using H-1B visas to hire low cost and talented workers. According to National Foundation for American Policy, more than 50% of U.S based unicorns have at least one immigrant founder. Those founders have created roughly 760 U.S jobs each.
Zirra asked three founders of HR-tech entrepreneurs for their predictions and thoughts regarding the new policy towards tech immigrants.
Yarden Tadmor, Founder & CEO at Switch
H-1B and other work visas for knowledge workers or people with exceptional abilities as the law defines it, have been attainable at all levels for U.S. companies from all over the world. This arrangement allows companies from overseas to open U.S. offices or relocate their headquarters and build and expand their operations, taking advantage of a seemingly global talent pool at all levels. If President Trump carries out a predicted plan to decrease the number of H-1B visas granted while also more than doubling the salary minimum, the talent who are granted a visa will be those very highly-skilled workers in the top salary bracket. To account for bringing on in-demand candidates, companies will look to save money in other areas, increasing use of offshore subcontractors for smaller companies and startups, and setting up larger offshore development offices for large companies. The top talent will go to large companies in the US or abroad, who can afford to offer more competitive compensation. Startups and smaller companies who cannot compete will lose talent, and overall innovation in the U.S. will suffer. In fact, some companies who start their U.S. operations by use of work visas may not even do so at all.
Liran Kotzer, Founder & CEO at Woo.
The big question for the tech industry is what will happen with high-skilled visas (H1B, L1, etc). While there isn’t enough information yet, word on the street is that there will be changes to the visa program as a whole. Those changes can certainly affect the tech industry far and wide and will worsen the shortage of tech professionals in the US, creating even more competition and driving higher salaries. Those changes can also push tech companies from top competitive tech hubs locations, such as Silicon Valley, to open offices in other places in the US or even outside the US to meet their staffing goals.
Ronni Zehavi, CEO, and Co-founder at Hibob
Bob is a global brand, full of people from many nations, servicing people in many countries and with has huge global ambitions. We see the world as one place, we foster openness and diversity, and we have built technology to help business to do the same. We felt sorrow when realizing that one of the most open cultures on the planet, a nation built by incredible immigrants, that throughout the history has opened its arms and given hope to the world – is now turning it’s back on it.
At present we are based in London and Israel, so we cannot see any immediate impact on our business. But on the whole, my fear is that not only will there be a huge dent in ‘Brand America,’ but there could potentially be a dent in the talent and ideas that come out of it.
The tech industry is built on Innovation. Innovation is built on creativity and creativity is built on openness. A physical openness to allow the most amazing talent the world has to offer to come and work near you. An openness in attitude, which is in danger of being the biggest casualty here.
But if there is one thing that will overcome all prejudice and barriers thrown in its path, it is the spirit of the entrepreneur. Forever optimistic, forever fighting, forever picking themselves up and finding a new path. So as much as the events that are unfolding before our eyes go against every fiber of our existence this is what gives us greatest hope.