Tech companies fight to protect international talent pool in the US

Tech companies fight to protect international talent pool in the US

On June 6, 2020, the Trump administration issued a new visa law for international students. This move comes to ban students from staying in the US if they fail to attend at least one in-person course. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft considered the decision as harm to their businesses. They have joined a lawsuit filed on July 13, 2020, by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) against the Department of Homeland Security and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). More than 60 other US universities filed a brief in support of the case.

Calling the Federal judge to block the rule, plaintiffs avowed that Trump’s decision would affect their recruitment plans. Following visa restrictions, International students will not be able to participate in The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programmes and Optional Practical Training (OPT) programmes. CPT permits alternative work/study, internship through cooperative agreements with a student’s school and a sponsoring employer. While OPT allows students to acquire temporary employment for one year during their studies or after graduation.

International students are crucial for the evolvement of the technology sector in the US.  Smart and talented individuals can help to position the US as a leader in technology. Tech companies need to secure a multi-cultural atmosphere. Employees with different languages and cultural backgrounds can create and sell products in different markets around the world.  “Our global competitiveness hinges on our ability to attract and retain top minds from around the world said the Amici companies in the briefing. In addition, tech companies added, “Individuals who come here as international students are also essential to educating the next generation of inventors.”

The Amici brief was signed by 19 US associations and individual companies. The brief states that the defendants failed to consider the impacts of their decisions on the US business community. “In the 2018-2019 academic year alone, international students at U.S. colleges and universities contributed nearly $41 billion to the U.S. economy,” according to the brief.

Tech companies see Trump’s decision as a way to facilitate competitiveness. “The U.S. will “nonsensically be sending . . . these graduates away to work for our global competitors and compete against us . . . instead of capitalizing on the investment in their education here in the U.S”, according to the briefing. On the other hand, Sundar Pichai, CEO Google, and Alphabet Inc. said in a tweet on June 23, 2020 “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech”.

On July 16, 2020, the Federal District Court Judge announced that Trump accepted to rescind its July 6 rule. A win situation for social media platforms after a series of clashes with Trump.