Friday, June 14, 2024

CEOs Gripe over Tighter Screening of Skilled Worker Visas

‘Revoking their U.S. work authorization will likely cause high-skilled immigrants to take their skills to competitors outside the United States…’

Apple's Tim Cook, President Donald Trump, Microsoft's Satya Nadella and Amazon's Jeff Bezos
Apple’s Tim Cook, President Donald Trump, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos/IMAGE: WhiteHouse.gov via YouTube

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Even as President Donald Trump’s economic policies have been a boon for corporate America (and Main Street America), some of the most ardent left-leaning company execs continue to pick nits and declare impending economic disaster.

Apple’s Tim Cook, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi and JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon were among the group of CEOs who co-signed a letter Wednesday as part of the Business Roundtable, criticizing the Trump administration’s immigration policy for its negative business impact.

The letter, addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, complained that a shortage of permits for highly skilled workers, known as H-1B visas, was “causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening to disrupt company operations.”

It is by no means the first time business leaders have cried foul over Trump’s immigration policies. Cook, for one, has made repeated appeals to the Trump White House to take a more ‘compassionate’ stance on issues like the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals and the so-called ‘Muslim ban’ restricting travel to and from certain terrorist safe-harbors.

While the brunt of Trump’s immigration reform has been aimed at unskilled labor entering the country illegally, he previously directed Cabinet members to explore H-1B solutions that would avoid displacing American workers.

Current law limits the H-1B program to 85,000 new visas annually. Even so, reported The Mercury News, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Francis Cissna has cited “all sorts of fraud and abuse” in the immigration systems.

As a result, Cissna has placed greater focus on extensive investigative interviews and frequent on-site visits to companies that employ H-1B workers.

Agency Mission No Longer to Serve 'Nation of Immigrants'
Francis Cissna/IMAGE: YouTube

The Business Roundtable said USCIS had “issued several policy memoranda over the past year… resulting in arbitrary and inconsistent adjudications.”

Among the issues with which the group took umbrage were inconsistent approval policies that resulted in greater uncertainty, the revocation of special eligibility status for the spouses of H-1B workers, and a more active removal process if workers are denied permit extensions or eligibility changes.

“The reality is that few will move their family and settle in a new country if, at any time and without notice, the government can force their immediate departure–often without explanation” the Business Roundtable letter said.

The CEOs also pointed to the current labor shortage, and said in many cases the Labor Department had certified that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to do the job.

“Other countries allow these valuable professionals to work, so revoking their U.S. work authorization will likely cause high-skilled immigrants to take their skills to competitors outside the United States,” the letter said.

Cissna, for his part, said USCIS was likely to get even more thorough in its screening and follow-ups moving forward.

Between student visas, skilled worker permits and extensions, “you could have a person here for a dozen years and we never talk to them,” he said. “I don’t think that’s prudent.”

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