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Tim Cook, Indra Nooyi and 57 Other US CEOs Call Out Trump For 'Disruptive' H1-B Visa Policy

The executives said that many of their employees were now facing uncertainty due to issues such as 'inconsistent immigration decisions' that would likely curtail work permits for spouses of skilled immigrants.

Agencies

Updated:August 24, 2018, 4:25 PM IST
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Tim Cook, Indra Nooyi and 57 Other US CEOs Call Out Trump For 'Disruptive' H1-B Visa Policy
(Image: Reuters)
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A group of chief executive officers at the largest US companies expressed serious concern about the Trump administration's immigration policy and said the rules increase uncertainty and undermine economic growth.

In the letter signed by 59 CEOs including Tim Cook of Apple Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co's Jamie Dimon, Indra Nooyi of Pepsi Co and Doug Parker of American Airlines, the executives said that many of their employees were now facing uncertainty due to issues such as 'inconsistent immigration decisions' that would likely curtail work permits for spouses of skilled immigrants.

"As the federal government undertakes its legitimate review of immigration rules, it must avoid making changes that disrupt the lives of thousands of law-abiding and skilled employees, and that inflict substantial harm on US competitiveness," the CEOs said in a letter dated Wednesday.

The letter also highlighted the current treatment of applications for H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, a category often seen as synonymous with the technology industry but that also includes architects, economists, physicians and teachers, among other professions.

A policy brief released in July by the National Foundation for American Policy showed denials of such visas are on the rise. Indian IT companies have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the H1-B visa programme over the years.

The CEOs are a part of the Business Roundtable, which is a lobbying group and is currently chaired by Dimon. While Business Roundtable has been discussing immigration policy for years, the letter was prompted by specific recent regulatory actions taken by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is soon expected to revoke work authorization eligibility for spouses.

"Together, the USCIS actions significantly increase the likelihood that a long-term employee-who has followed the rules and who has been authorized by the US government multiple times to work in the United States-will lose his or her status," the letter said.

"At a time when the number of job vacancies are reaching historic highs due to labour shortages, now is not the time restrict access to talent," the letter added.

The government should not change the rules in the middle of the process as it could result in unnecessary costs and complications, the executives said in a letter to the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Nielsen, a Trump appointee, told reporters at a White House briefing on Thursday that the administration was only strictly enforcing the law.

"This administration did not create a policy of separating families ... What has changed is that we no longer exempt entire classes of people who break the law," she said.

(With Reuter inputs)
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