Apple CEO tells Trump his immigration policy is troubling tech employees
- Apple CEO Tim Cook told President Trump that tech workers, some of whom might be immigrants, are worried about his immigration policy, reports CNBC. Cook was one of a group of company heads at the White House's tech CEO meeting.
- Cook brought up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Obama administration's policy that gave some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors a two-year renewal deferment to stay in the country and receive work permits.
- But notably, the tech industry has also been concerned about the H-1B visa program. Uncertainty and increased restrictions have pushed some, including Microsoft, to open up offices in Canada thanks to easier immigration controls there.
The Trump administration's stringent immigration policy could force U.S.-based tech companies to get around restrictions on H-1B visas and the tech-worker shortage by setting up offices abroad — not exactly a great environment for American entrepreneurship.
Canada's more lenient process for hiring tech workers makes it a highly desirable location for a burgeoning tech industry. Canadian's Global Skills program issues work permits and temporary resident visas within two weeks, rather than the standard one year. The U.S.'s northern neighbor is also relaxing regulations and providing tax breaks to lure tech talent.
Canada stands to be the next "Silicon Valley," and U.S. employers who have depended on workers with H-1B visas to fill the tech-skills gap could feel the pinch. Smart employers are looking to more diverse hiring as well as robust internal training programs to make up the difference. Some have teamed up with local education initiatives to get young people interested in tech careers early on.
Women tech workers and tech workers of color in particular are forced to wait on the sidelines for career opportunities in a traditionally male and white dominated field. At the same time, it may prudent to embrace partnerships with Canadian firms that can supply remote talent and other resources to help maintain a steady level of technological development.