AGENCIES, Washington: In a country where industry success over the years that has been attributed to the contribution of qualified guest workers, the decision of US President Donald Trump’s to suspend H-1B visa to stop the entry of foreign workers has been met with strong criticism worldwide. Trump’s latest proclamation uses the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for limiting immigration.
Trump has claimed the move is aimed at providing jobs to local workers amid pandemic unemployment. However, such an idea is not welcome at progressive companies in the US, whose top executives have opposed it along with immigrants, social commentators.
Among the vocals has been Tesla-SpaceX chief Elon Musk, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple among others. Cook showed his disappointment hours after the news of Trump pulling temporary brakes on visas flashed across social media.
“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 by this proclamation,” Cook tweeted.
Amazon, which had the most number of H-1B visa approvals in 2019, panned the administration’s short-sightedness and wrote: “Welcoming the best & the brightest global talent is critical to America’s economic recovery. We will continue to support these programs & efforts to protect the rights of immigrants.”
Sundar Pichai shared similar thoughts through a tweet. “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”
Nearly half of a million H-1B visas issued between 2004 and 2012 went to Indians. Along with their dependants they accounted for more than a fourth of the Indian-American population, which is currently around 3 million. Over 17 million people lost jobs due to the pandemic in the US. Many in India feel that Trump’s measure is part of a plan to make permanent changes to immigration laws to discourage foreign workers.