Ever since Donald Trump made his political ambitions clear, there was a mumbled angst in the country. The leaders of the tech industry have openly claimed that Trump is a “disaster for innovation.” The one thing that the tech industry was afraid of finally happened on Friday.
After the immigration ban CEOs of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc. have expressed their strong sentiments. Many of them have even joined protests (read: Sergey Brin) and almost all of them have accepted the fact that immigrants play a crucial role in making the companies. Some of them have Co-founders who are immigrants themselves.
Is this Trump’s Lack of Vision?
Throughout Trump’s campaign, his motivations or goals for the tech industry remained vague. The ban on Muslim immigrants might have meant that he fulfilled the promise to his supporters, but it does less to show how that will support technology and innovation in the country.
The unexpected ban further went on to demonstrate that he has a little vision about core tech policies. If that were not enough, Trump has often gone on to criticize the who’s who of the tech industry. This does not point towards good tech-governmental relations. Either the future of innovation could be troublesome, or the government could remain bereft of its benefits.
USA’s loss could be Britain’s Gain
Is this a good move for the USA? This is the question the citizens are asking while Britain has already started rejoicing. For months, British tech companies were worried that Brexit would affect their industries poorly. London was already on its way to becoming the alternative to Silicon Valley. Trump’s ban just meant that they are way on their way to becoming the next rivals now. Yes, Silicon Valley might no longer retain its monopolistic status.
UK startups will now think twice before expanding to Silicon Valley while US tech biggies will find a base in the UK. This will boom the British technology scene. CEO of Tech City, UK, said that “This is a tremendous opportunity for the UK to affirm that it is open for business to the brightest and best from around the world.”
Trump’s major hit yet to come: Work-visa programs
Yes, you read that right. Tech companies hire tens of thousands of people every year to sustain the amount of work. This means a massive number of work visas are granted each year. To the utter dismay of tech corporate, this is where Trump will strike next. Although the order has been drafted it only takes a second for Trump to enact it.
Bloomberg recently obtained a copy of the draft which read “Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest. Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”
STEM companies and changes in hiring process
Of course, if the draft is enacted it would mean that corporations change their recruitment process from now on. The science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM fields recruited foreign brains when they couldn’t find qualified local workers. But the top recipients of H1-B visas are primarily from India. This means that a bulk of Indian workers have to pack their bags if the draft gets enacted.
Indian IT companies like Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Wipro, and Infosys have argued that they are making workforce competitive, but the danger looms overhead. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley companies might have to shift their recruitment process if the work visas are snatched away.
Ties with Islamic Nations
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said “Such selective and discriminatory acts will only serve to embolden the radical narratives of extremists and will provide further fuel to the advocates of violence and terrorism at a critical time,” criticizing the move.
However, Trump invited Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Saudi King Salaman to Washington. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have bought millions of dollars worth of weapons from America. Trump faces a crisis now more than ever as he tries to balance the work ties besides fulfilling the promises of terrorism free nation.
Amidst this state of confusion, it remains to be seen how the future of the tech industries remains intact.