Startups in United States urge Trump not to manipulate H1B visa norms

Over 200 signatories from the startup and investment community joined a February 7 letter to the White House, expressing concerns about Trump's January 27 executive order banning entry of immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

"While we recognize the importance of promoting national security and protecting the interests of American workers, we strongly believe the existing and proposed executive orders will not accomplish these goals and in fact, could undermine our ability to found and grow new companies that create jobs here in the US", they said in an open letter to Trump.

The proposed overhaul of popular H1B visa regime by US President Donald Trump has raised concerns among Indian IT firms, as any changes in the H1B visa regime may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the $110 billion (roughly Rs. 7,35,885 crores) Indian outsourcing industry.

It's the latest salvo from the tech industry over Trump's executive order barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Nasscom plans to send a delegation of senior executives to Washington later this month to reach out to the Trump administration and lawmakers about its concerns on a possible tightening of the visa regime and curbs on the flow of skilled manpower.

"The order calls for the evaluation and rolling back of various worker visa and parole programs and is based on the concerning and misguided presumption that visa programs are harmful to American workers and the broader economy". The American start-ups believe that these actions by the Trump administration are both morally and economically misguided.

In the open letter, Engstrom and Franklin write, "Limits on the movement immigrants - including lawful visa holders - into the US based on their nationality or religion not only seed fear and uncertainty for our friends, families, and co-workers, but are also antithetical to American values and sends the message that the U.S.is no longer open for innovation. For every 100 immigrants with advanced degrees (Engineering and Science degrees) who come into the U.S., 86 jobs are created for the local citizens", the startups in the United States said.

The delegation will highlight and share information with the new U.S. administration on direct jobs being created by Indian IT companies in the United States, and contribution of Indian IT firms in making the USA economy competitive.

The draft would appear to reverse an Obama-era rule that created a legal pathway for foreign-born entrepreneurs to launch their businesses in the U.S. Foreign students with degrees from U.S. universities would also face new restrictions when trying to enter the workforce, according to the draft.

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