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Trump’s H-1B Order Poses Threat to Startups
As seen in the Austin Business Journal.
The final policy that results from President Donald Trump’s executive order to review the H-1B visa process remains uncertain. And uncertainty, as executives know, is bad for business.
“This is a bad situation,” said Charisse Castagnoli, vice president of security and general counsel at Trucker Path Inc. The H-1B visa program is an essential mechanism to supply the specific type of workers the company needs, she said. “What people don’t understand is that as entrepreneurs, this is not just about technical skills. It’s the combination of those skills with the will and desire to work in a high-risk, deferred reward environment. We’re looking for people with the fortitude, risk tolerance and personal compatibility.”
Sujata Ajmera, an immigration lawyer and partner at Strasburger & Price LLP in Austin, said smaller companies might be more vulnerable to any changes in H1-B policy.
“Not being able to hire one or two people can have a huge impact on the bottom line, the ability to get contracts and do business,” Ajmera said. “It won’t limit the ability of larger companies to function, even if it does cost them money.”
Gita Lal, president and CEO of Austin’s Daman Consulting, said the H-1B program doesn’t take away U.S. jobs or give positions to non-Americans over U.S. citizens.
“Trust me, if I could hire American citizens, it would be cheaper and faster,” Lal said. “It costs me about $20,000 to hire a non-U.S. citizen. I’d rather not spend that money. I’m not dying to hire employees with visas. The only reason I’m doing it is because that’s what’s available.”
Lal said any restrictions on H1-B visa holders will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy. The H-1B visa jobs “are not going to the displaced worker in Detroit,” she said. “If we can’t hire these people, this work goes to places like India. But if these jobs stay here, they benefit the (U.S.) taxpayer. Business owners are paying payroll taxes and contributing to the nation’s economy, instead of having these jobs go offshore.”
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