US President Donal Trump suspends the issue of new H1B work visas in order to restrict the entry of foreign workers. This is also to create employment opportunities for locals. Several companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Paypal, Apple are unhappy with Trump’s decision
The visa suspension rule will come into effect from June 24 and will remain until the end of this year. This move is expected to open up around 525,000 jobs for US workers.
Here is how several companies and CEO’s reacted to this
Alphabet Inc’s Google:
The CEO of Alphabet Sundar Pichai tweeted his disappointment saying that Immigration contributes a lot to the development of the country and also Google. He also adds that the company will stand with the immigrants and expands opportunity for all The chief of Youtube Susan Wojcicki says that Immigration is central to the America’s story and also their own family. According to the stats by USCIS, Google received 2,678 approvals for H1B visas in 2019.
The company says that they oppose the Administration’s short-sighted decision to pause high-skill visa programs. Welcoming the best & the brightest global talent is critical to America’s economic recovery. They will continue to support these programs & efforts to protect the rights of immigrants The company has the highest H1B approvals for the year 2019 which is 3026
Apple says that the nation always found strength in the diversity. The company also believes that there is no prosperity without both 1136 H1B visas are approved for Apple in 2019
The CEO of the company tweets that it is a bad policy and this doesn’t make America better Box Inc. received 21 H1B visa approvals in 2019
The company says that by keeping the talent outside of the country will not help recover the country. Also, the nation will benefit a lot if we promote the talented people from around the world Facebook recieved 1518 visa approvals in 2019
President Brad Smith tweets that now is not the time to create uncertainity. Immigrants play a vital role at our company and support our country’s critical infrastructure. They are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most, Microsoft recieved 1701 visa approvals in 2019
The CEO tweets that by creating these new restrictions for the immigrants who help this country is disappointing. This will slow down the progress of the nation Paypal recieved 271 visa approvals in 2019
The CEO tweets that As we plan for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis let’s focus on common sense & fair immigration policies. H-1B workers should be treated with respect & dignity. They generate real innovation & growth . . . benefiting us all and fueling our economy. We embrace all our Ohana, Salesforce recieved 267 visa approvals in 2019
“Very much disagree with this action. In my experience, these skillsets are net job creators. Visa reform makes sense, but this is too broad,” the CEO Elon Mush tweets Tesla recieved 117 visa approvals in 2019
Along with these several companies, CEOs, analysts unhappy with Trump’s decision.
The US President Trump plans to sign restriction orders for the H1B visa. This is an executive order which restricts the issuing of new H1B, L1, and other temporary work permit visas. The main motive of this idea is to improve local employment in the USA
Trump believes, by this order, almost everyone in the country will be happy and would welcome this decision. Although he believes that they will always be a few exceptions.
The USA is having many unemployment problems right now. The unemployment rate in the country has risen rapidly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, Trump plans to sign restriction orders for the H1B visa
This move impacts the foreign workers especially Indians who are already scheduled to move to the US from October 1, 2020, once they receive their approval orders. Indians contribute to 70% of 85,000 visas issued every year.
Analysts predict that this move might not affect the people who are already present in the USA currently. This move will affect US tech giants more than that of Indian tech companies. Indian companies started hiring local talent for the last few years opposite the US companies that rely mostly on foreign workers.
In the fiscal year 2019, seven of the top 10 companies that rely on H1B visas are US companies. According to the data from USCIS, the share of Indian companies in H1B visas dropped from 51% to 24% from 2016-19
The unemployment rate for Computer Science in the USA is dropped from 3% to 2.5% from January to May, this year. For other sectors, it increased from 4.1% to 13.5% in the same period.
Recently, in April, Trump signed an order tor restrict Green cards, and some resident permits for a period of 60 days.
The Tech giants started petitioning the US administration, especially Trump that H1B visas are integral for COVID recovery. Companies like Amazon, Google, Accenture, Facebook, IBM are some of the companies to start the petition.
These companies are asking to continue to allow them to hire these highly skilled people. They believe that they are an integral part of the COVID-19 recovery plan for the USA
Advocacy firm ITI, present in Washington said that these big companies are concerned about the news of the suspension of H1B visas. These non-immigrant work visas are in need in these dire times.
The CEO of ITI said that these firms are anxious to get their employees back and the labor market has already started working. He also re-iterated that foreign-born workers are crucial to recovery.
The CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue also pointed out to the US government that as the economy bounces back, the American firms need support to meet the needs of their workforce.
US-India business council that has members belonging to HCL, Citi India, Bharat Forge also agreed with Mr.Donohue on this. Mr.Oxman, the CEO of ITI said that the unemployment rate in the software side has decreased from 3% in January 2020, to 2.8% in April 2020
Who benefits from the H1B visas
Indians are the ones who are benefitting the most with the H1B visas. Recently Wall Street Journal published an article that Trump administration will suspend all the new H1B visas. The reasons for this are to control the coronavirus and increase the employment of US-based citizens.
Mr.Donohue says that if companies cannot hire H1B employees, productivity growth will deter. This is especially in the patent production sector. Ultimately this is a great cause for the economic slowdown
He further adds that these short-term restrictions of H1B and L1 visas will have a long term impact on the business plans of the company. Along with H1B visas, these restrictions might apply to H2B visas and J-1 visas which are for short-term seasonal workers and short-term camp counselors respectively.
What does White House think about this?
A White House spokesperson said that the administration is actively evaluating various options, especially to protect American workers. Although no decision is made.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that all of its employees can work from home indefinitely as long as they want. The spread of the virus has shattered the IT work culture and post lockdown the companies are implementing different ways to help their employees, overcome this.
Around the globe, 4.2 million people have been affected due to coronavirus. This has led the governments to impose lockdown and several restrictions.
Twitter has said that the offices will open around September and the employees now have the choice to come to the offices or continue to work from home. CEO Jack Dorsey has planned to move to Africa for three to six months while managing the Twitter remotely. Twitter and most of the companies see this as an emerging norm for the employees.
Also, it was announced that there will not be any business travels until September with very few exceptions from Twitter. Also, it had announced that there will no in-person events conducted in the offices until the end of this year.
Previously, tech giants like Facebook and Google have announced that they are allowing its employees to continue to work from home until this year end. Last week, Google had asked its employees to take a leave on May 22nd to handle the continuos work from home efforts.
In India, with the widespread of the coronavirus, multiple phases of lockdown are being implemented. Due to this, almost all IT employees started to work from home. Currently, the country is in phase 3 of the lockdown. With this, the e-commerce giant Amazon in India has announced the extension of work from home to its employees until October.
In a statement, the Human Resouce Director, Deepthi Verma has said that the company’s main priority right now is to protect the employee and prioritize the health and also to follow the guidelines set by the government. The Director also said that employees whose work can be done from home can work from home till October 2.
The e-commerce rival to Amazon, Flipkart has said that the offices will be reopen in phases. Chief People Officer, Krishna Raghavan said that for those individuals who are working form the corporate offices in Bangalore, the company is looking to return to its offices in phases. Initially, it would be the teams who cannot work from home optimally given the limited resource in infrastructure.
Flipkart also said those expectant mothers, ill employees, employees who have young children or elderly parents at home, employees with underlying medical conditions should continue to work from home, or any remote location. For all those who are returning to offices, the company is taking several measures to control the spread of virus by enabling social distancing, etc.
Amazon India is also planning to take several measures like regular temperature checks, social distancing in all the office premises, deep cleaning, use of sanitizers to keep the employees who work from offices, safe. Around the globe, several tech giants like Google, Facebook have extended the option to work from home for their employees until the end of 2020.
With the widespread COVID-19, almost all the tech companies are asking their employees to work from home due to imposed lockdown, stop the contamination of the virus, etc. In the latest news, Google and Facebook are the two companies that have announced to let their employees work from home for the rest of the year.
According to the schedule set by Facebook earlier, the company is planning to reopen its offices on July 6th. After that, for the employees who can work from home, it is going to allow them to continue the remote work. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg will release a formal statement soon, regarding this.
This decision comes after Facebook is contacting various entities such as public health agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Johns Hopkins, and government guidance.
Along with Facebook, Google is the other company that is planning to allow its employees to continue to work from home throughout 2020. On this topic, Sundar Pichai has advised all the employees of Alphabet Inc. who can work from home can continue their remote work, instead of coming to offices. Earlier, it was announced that the employees of Google will start coming to offices from June 1.
For the people who are required to work at offices, the Google offices will open from June or July and extra safety measures will be implemented on the campuses and inside the offices to stop the spread of the virus.
A report in the United States claims that several companies in the country like Google, Apple, Microsoft, use the H1B visa program to pay the migrant workers well below the average market wages.
The report that is released by the Economic Policy Institute claims that several H1B visa employers which are in top-30 such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, are taking advantage of this program and are paying a less wage, lower than the average pay scale. This report is written by Daniel Costa and Ron Hira and titled ‘H1B visas and prevailing wage levels’.
It also says that around 60% of H1B visa positions certified by the US DOL(Department of Labor) are assigned with minimum wage levels. The report also claims that even though the H1B visa allows this, DOL has the authority to modify it and is not changing it.
In the 2019 visa program, around 53,000 employees are availing the H1B visas, while the top 30 H1B availing companies account for 389,000 H1B petitions. Also, half of the H1B employers are currently using an outsourcing business model in which they provide the staff to third party clients instead of employing the staff in their offices.
H1B is a non-immigrant temporary work visa on which the US companies can hire college graduates from across different countries, including fashion models. According to a survey, around 500,000 immigrant workers are currently employed in the USA under an H1B visa.
The report also claims that the employers who employ the H1B visa employees in their own offices, rather than to a third-party client, are being assigned with Level-1 and Level-2 which has the lowest wage levels in the fiscal year 2019. This list consists of big firms like Qualcomm, Google, Facebook, etc.
Also, these firms which hire the employees directly, are also hiring them on a contract basis via outsourcing firms. Here is a typical example of how these firms assign various levels to H1B employees. Microsft has assigned 35% into level-1(lowest), 42% into level-2. These two levels account for 77% of the employees. Microsoft has categorized 18% to level-3 wage(median level) and only just 3% to level-4, which is above the average base pay level. Amazon also does similar categorization, with 47% of its H1B employees to level-1, 36% to level-2. Apple, Google, Facebook also follows the same trend but slightly better.
Several Indian investors are looking to buy US stocks to escape the falling markets at home and get exposure to global markets that are rising in the current situation
Until now the situation of investing in the stocks of the foreign markets is just a hobby for many experienced stockbrokers or individuals in the country. But the situation now has changed. With the ease in the cross border investment rules, many people are looking to invest in the foreign economy/ stocks.
Vested finance, an investment firm that helps Indians to buy/sell US stocks has seen around 4000 new accounts being opened in March, which is double compared to February. Each month, the company expects a 30% increase in the overall new account openings. But this time, it has increased.
According to the official statistics, Vested finance has seen a $3.5 million invested by Indians in the US stocks in 3 months, until March. This is a huge increase, almost 5 times the stats in the previous quarter. Most of these investments are first-time investments from the app. The CEO of vested said that many people are investing in US markets as this gives exposure to not just the market of US but global markets as well since most of the company’s operations are carried out somewhere in the US.
Many of the retail investors are interested to invest in brands like Google, Netflix, and Facebook. Even there are sector belonging to cannabis and gene-editing CRISPR technology, which are not available in India
The equity markets of India has lost about one-fifth of their value this year. Even the value of the rupee is very weak currently. The dollar is up 6% against rupee this year. This also led to investments in foreign stocks, especially the US
Gurugram metropolitan authority CEO and Haryana Additional Chief Secretary V.S.Kundu has said that all the Multinational companies, BPOs, and ITes companies should allow their employees to work from home until July.
Mr. Kundu is in charge of Covid-19 for the whole Gurugram district. This decision comes after PM Modi met with all the Cheif Ministers of the states to discuss the next steps to be taken to control the spread of the virus. As part of this meeting, several states have requested to prolong the lockdown with slight ease in the regulations. The second round of lockdown in the country ends with May 3rd.
In a statement, Mr. Kundu said that all the employees who have offices in Gurugram are advised to continue to work from home until July. He also asked the companies to make sure that most of their employees work from home. This might not be possible with the manufacturing companies but wherever it’s feasible, the companies should allow their employees to work from home.
Currently, the situation in Gurugram is that around 50% of the employees are allowed to work from the office, starting from April 21, according to the Union Home Ministry’s revised rules. Several companies in the Gurugram region are still adapting to a seamless work from a home model.
Several MNC’s like Infosys, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and several BPOs like Genpact, Convergys which work 24/7 with clients in Europe, Australia, USA has offices at Gurugram.
Recently, according to a Gartner survey, 74% of the companies are planning to allow their employees to work from home permanently even after the crisis is averted. Another survey states that 72% of the firms believe that this coronavirus effect will be there for at least 6 more months and most of them fear for the decrease in productivity due to work from home.