The US economy depends on immigrants who fill necessary positions that help boost many industries. Trump's extended halt on immigration could have negative consequences for Americans.
On Monday, President Donald Trump extended a freeze on immigration visas. Trump cited the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic for the move, saying that jobs should be reserved for Americans. The decision is in line with the Trump administration's broader efforts to limit immigration and plays on rhetoric that immigrants steal jobs. Data has shown, however, that immigrants help create jobs and normally work in positions that complement the work of Americans. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
On Monday, President Donald Trump extended a freeze on immigration visas through the end of the year, arguing that it would help protect as many as 525,000 jobs for Americans in an economy shaken by the coronavirus pandemic. Trump signed a proclamation meant to extend the 60-day freeze on work visas, put in place in April, until the end of 2020. It affects H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas. "American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the United States to perform temporary work," the proclamation says. "Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy. But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers." The measure is in line with a history of efforts by the Trump administration to limit immigration under the assumption that immigrants steal jobs from Americans. This proclamation would affect jobs in the tech industry, jobs at universities, as well as au pairs. According to PBS, immigrants tend to hold jobs that usually complement American workers or make it easier for Americans to do their jobs. They tend to work odd hours and in more dangerous conditions. Au pairs or other childcare providers, for instance, help allow Americans, especially women, to enter the workforce. Immigrants are also taking up jobs to take care of the US elderly population, PBS reported. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17% of the labor force last year were immigrants; however, they're mostly filling jobs Americans don't want or that need to be done to allow more Americans to work. "Most economists agree that in spite of being a very big part of the labor force, immigrants have not come at the cost either of American jobs nor of American wages," Giovanni Peri, an economics professor at the University of California at Davis, told PBS. Pew Research Center in 2017 described how immigrants were projected to help combat a shrinking workforce. As baby boomers retire, and the US birth rate drops, Pew estimated that without immigration the US workforce would shrink to 165.6 million in 2035 from 173.2 million in 2015. Funding for programs like Social Security that rely on workers would be threatened, and economic growth would most likely shrink or become stagnant. Immigrants also create jobs by starting businesses. According to Harvard Business Review, immigrants in the US tend to contribute about twice as much to entrepreneurship as native-born citizens do and also tend to create more successful businesses. A study from Harvard Business School found that immigrant-founded businesses performed better in terms of employment growth over three and six years than businesses founded by native citizens. A 2017 study by the Center for American Entrepreneurship found that more than 40% of companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. But even on a small-business scale, many local communities benefit from immigrant-owned businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. "It sends a very powerful negative signal to the rest of the world: 'Don't come to the United States. We don't want you,'" John Dearie, the president of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, a nonpartisan group that supports immigration, previously told the Associated Press on the Trump administration's immigration policy. "That's terribly damaging." While the proclamation claims that jobs are being lost to immigrants, many companies have said the move would limit them from hiring necessary talent. Many technology companies like Apple and Google rely on H-1B visas to employ foreign professionals and H-4 visas to allow their spouses to come, so this move could hinder their innovation capabilities — and they responded with frustration to the latest Trump proclamation. "America's continued success depends on companies having access to the best talent from around the world," said a Google spokesman, Jose Castaneda, in a statement. "Particularly now, we need that talent to help contribute to America's economic recovery." TechNet's president, Linda Moore, told The Washington Post that the new policy would "slow innovation and undermine the work the technology industry is doing to help our country recover from unprecedented events."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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Four weeks before the election, the Trump administration has announced stricter rules for the H-1B visa...Four weeks before the election, the Trump administration has announced stricter rules for the H-1B visa program, which U.S. companies have long valued.
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Many people in the tech industry are choosing to move to Canada over the US because...Many people in the tech industry are choosing to move to Canada over the US because of the US' restrictive immigration laws. Since 2013, Toronto has added more tech jobs than any other place in North America, including Silicon Valley. 25% of Canada's overall workforce are immigrants, and in the tech space that number is even higher — 40%. View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook. Silicon Valley's reputation as the world's leading tech hub could be in jeopardy because of the United States' restrictive immigration laws. Tens of thousands of immigrant tech workers have flocked to Toronto in the past few years, making it the fastest growing tech hub in North America. Many of them are deliberately avoiding the US as the Trump administration clamps down on immigration. In June, President Donald Trump temporarily suspended visas known as H-1B visas, which are awarded to thousands of skilled immigrant workers each year. The visa suspension is prompting some immigrants, like former Silicon Valley product manager Asim Fayaz, to move north to Canada. "There is a whole world out there, and you are probably better off going somewhere else because you'd be treated more human," said Fayaz, a Pakistani immigrant who now runs an online restaurant business in Toronto. "You don't need to be, like, pleading for your existence all the time." Every year, the US government reserves 85,000 H-1B visas for skilled foreign professionals — people like Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa and started companies such as Tesla and SpaceX in the US. Fayaz came to the US to attend the University of California, and landed a job after graduating with a master's degree in 2016. As an immigrant, trying to find work in the US was tough — he needed an American employer to not just hire him, but also sponsor his H-1B work visa. This year, immigration laws suddenly changed as Trump suspended the program, citing "an unusual threat to the employment of American workers" during the coronavirus pandemic. The move left thousands in limbo. But while the US is closing doors, Canada has been rolling out the welcome mat. Since 2013, the number of tech jobs in Toronto has skyrocketed from about 148,000 to 228,000, an increase of 54%. "We have over 100,000 people immigrate to the Toronto region each year, which is twice as many as San Francisco Bay Area," Jason Goldlist, cofounder of TechToronto, said. And we don't just attract the quantity. It's also quality because a fifth of these immigrants already have a STEM degree before they even arrive here. Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify is trying to capitalize on the opportunity. Following Trump's announcement, CEO Tobias Lutke — himself an immigrant from Germany — tweeted, "If this affects your plans consider coming to Canada instead." Sandeep Anand, the company's senior mobility lead, echoed Lutke's call for talent: "Whether they're already in Canada, whether they're globally present, we're looking to really expand our diverse workforce. And in some cases it does mean that we would need to relocate and provide immigration support, which we're happy to do," she told Business Insider Today. According to a 2016 study, 25% of Canada's workforce are immigrants. And in the tech space, that number is even higher — 40%, or 350,000 workers. And there's still room for more, says Ilya Brotzky, the founder & CEO of VanHack, a Canadian firm that helps place global talent in tech jobs across North America. Brotzky cited Canada's 3% unemployment rate in the tech sector, well below its overall unemployment rate. "It's not like there's a bunch of Canadians waiting to take these jobs," Brotzky said. "The unemployment rate is really, really low. We can't find the people." Brotzky argues it makes economic sense for US companies to open offices in Canada, as well. "You have these people that can basically work in the same time zone, quick flight from you, really easy laws, super fast to set up, and you have the benefit of Canadian dollar salaries," he told Business Insider Today. "But more importantly, you have access to the global talent pool. So you can bring in any developer from around the world that's good." That's why Canada is trying to attract highly skilled foreign professionals through visa programs like the Global Talent Stream, launched in 2017. Immigration experts say it is like the H-1B program, but a lot better. "It's a very fast processing time. It takes anywhere from roughly around two weeks to complete the first stage. And then the second stage, which is the work permit stage. It takes another two weeks. So you could be in Canada as quickly as a month," Blayne Kumar, founder of the immigration services company Bright Immigration, said. For Fayaz, the decision to move from the US to Canada came after he was laid off from his Silicon Valley company, when he and his wife became fed up with constantly worrying about their legal status. "It's not even like in 10 years, I will get it," he said. "It's like maybe, maybe not. Who knows, who cares. We don't need you in this country." And the recent suspension of the H-1B visa program only confirmed his worst fears. "You know that scene in movies where the actor is leaving the scene and the world is blowing up behind you, right? I feel like that — that I kind of managed to exit the scene somehow, magically," he said. "And I look back and the US is just blowing up." "So many of my friends, people that I worked with, went to school with, they're all impacted. And whenever I get a phone call, I just feel so sorry for all those people."SEE ALSO: Canada is way ahead in sRemote work could accelerate the tech industry's migration to Canada, where affordable costs of living and more open immigration policies are helping create tech hubs to rival Silicon Valleycooping up tech talent from the US DON'T MISS: Scientists and entrepreneurs are pioneering plastic alternatives with the goal of creating materials that can be recycled over and over Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak