Tech companies are suffering the biggest impacts of the tightening of H-1B visas by the Trump administration. The administration’s hardline immigration policies include trying to limit legal immigration and the government has started cracking down on H-1B visas. Many tech companies rely on H-1B visas so they can fill highly-skilled positions for which they have trouble finding enough U.S. workers. The government has made the application process much more difficult and has been turning down an increasing number of applications. This can cause harm to American companies and to the economy.
Impacts on Tech Companies
According to data from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, the information technology sector has been hit the hardest by the Trump administration’s tightening of the H-1B visa program. In 2018, the USCIS denied 80% of the new employment H-1B visa applications that were submitted by Capgemini and 61% of the applications that were submitted by Cognizant. The percentages of rejections for other tech companies ranged from 34% to 54%. Applications for extensions of H-1B visas for existing employees were denied in one-quarter of all of the cases.
During the first quarter of 2019, the USCIS sent requests for evidence to employers in 60% of the H-1B cases. These are requests for additional information that require companies to fill out many additional documents and can cost thousands of more dollars.
The increased hurdles for H-1B visas and the outright denials of a large percentage of the applications are threatening serious harm to the tech companies. The shortage of highly skilled workers has already made it challenging for many companies to fill the jobs they have available.
Potential Impact on the Economy
The H-1B visa program is crucial for U.S. companies and for the economy. Not enough Americans are going into high technology fields, leading many companies to have to broaden their searches for highly-skilled workers to overseas. When they are unable to fill their positions, the companies become less competitive. Some companies may be forced to close their doors if they cannot find the workers they need. This could lead to a ripple in the economy because other businesses rely on IT services to achieve economic growth. The crackdown on the H-1B visa program is shortsighted and threatens real economic harm.