Will U.S. Visa Restrictions and Immigration Changes Impact Tech Firms Recruiting Talent From Asia
Mar 29, 2017

It’s not just firms in Silicon Valley that are waiting with baited breath to see how their hiring processes may have to change due to recent changes in U.S. immigration policies. By far, the technology industry is responsible for sponsoring more H-1B visas in the U.S. than any other industry. These visas enable companies offering everything from computer data retrieval services to coding to recruit workers from abroad, with the majority coming from Asia. For technology majors in foreign countries who have plans of coming to the U.S. after graduation, these recent changes can be life changing. And for U.S. based tech firms who have long depended on international recruiting efforts, a major overhaul of both how and where they will source their talent is soon to come.

Expedited H1-B Visa Processing Set To End

Normally, computer and tech firms sponsoring employees from other nations would be able to quickly fill their ranks by getting visa applications expedited. Known as fast processing, this process formerly enabled technology companies to hire and sponsor employees from foreign countries within just a few weeks. In addition, with a cap on the number of H-1B visas granted every year in the U.S. currently being considered, renewing said visas may be an issue. Under current rules, H1-B visas are valid for three years. Normally, extending these visas or even officially beginning the immigration process to the U.S. would follow after technology employees based abroad had decided to move to the U.S. on a permanent basis. In an effort to urge U.S. technology firms to start looking at local talent first, President Trump has been pushing for a great deal of visa policy changes.

Changes In How Computer Based Companies Can Compensate Foreign Workers

One misconception that some people not actively working in the computer sector have about recruiting from outside the U.S. is that domestic firms are only interested in saving money. When you compare the salary paid to a H-1B visa holder who came to work in the U.S. for a data retrieval services company to a domestic employee, there may be a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. However, most tech firms mainly work to fill vacancies as quickly as they can with the best available talent. The number of students in the U.S. majoring in S.T.E.M. disciplines continues to decrease each year, making it difficult for employers to find suitable candidates nearby in most cases.

Fewer Visas Expected To Be Available To Foreign Technology Students

It’s not just foreign workers seeking H-1B visas who are going to be impacted by these developing changes in U.S. immigration policy. Students from abroad who routinely come to the U.S. on J-1 visas to study under technology firms during the course of summer internships will also face challenges in the near future. This is an opportunity that many tech majors figure out what exactly then want to do after graduation, and make invaluable connections with some of the types of companies they want to work with.

The U.S. has been producing the most cutting edge technologies in the world for many decades, but not without the cooperation and assistance of foreign lands. Just as the U.S. has sponsored foreign workers to come and work in the U.S., students interested in various disciplines have been welcomed with open arms in Japan, India, China, and other Asian countries in an effort to expand technology as we know it. Foreign workers can still come to the U.S. on H-1B visas, but these restrictions may permanently change how U.S. based recruiting efforts are executed.