Trump administration’s work visa plans could shake up recruiting at Apple, other US tech firms

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By Roger Fingas

Monday, January 30, 2017, 09:12 am PT (12:12 pm ET)

The draft proposal of an executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump could drastically alter the hiring practices of tech companies like Apple, a report said on Monday.


As written, the order would mandate that companies not only look for American recruits first, but give priority to the highest-paid people when they do take on foreigners, according to Bloomberg. The publication noted however that it’s not clear how much impact the order will have, since the U.S. Congress is already working on visa reforms of its own and will need bipartisan cooperation to pass laws.

American tech firms will sometimes hunt abroad for the best talent themselves, but have also been accused of tapping outsourcing firms that bring in cheap labor from places like India, rather than hire or train locals. Indian outfits like Tata, Infosys, and Wipro have in fact claimed that they help U.S. businesses become more competitive with specialized labor, and warned that some of the jobs they do create in the U.S. could be replaced by remote work overseas.

The Trump order would cover H-1B, L-1, E-2, and B1 visas. The H-1B is perhaps the most popular option, limited to about 85,000 people annually. Outsourcing companies are reportedly dominating the H-1B program, often leaving other businesses in the cold.

The Trump administration is also calling for annual reports on who is using immigration programs, a reversal of trends under Obama, whose administration actually shrank the amount of data available and insisted on Freedom of Information Act requests for some information.

A Friday immigration order by Trump became the subject of controversy and protests over the weekend, with many accusing him of deliberately targeting Muslim countries and creating chaos for people already set to come to the U.S., including green card holders.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in fact issued a special internal memo, pledging to help people impacted by the immigration ban debacle and reach out to the Trump administration to complain.

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