Apple, JP Morgan, others fear ‘harm’ from Donald Trump’s H-1B visa policy

Dozens of top US business leaders including Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and Pepsico Inc.’s Indra Nooyi signed a letter expressing “serious concerns” about the Trump administration’s immigration policy changes and their potential to undermine economic growth.

The letter focused on recent changes in the area of high-skilled immigration. The executives decried moves that were said to include “inconsistent immigration decisions” and the likely curtailing of work permits for spouses of some high-skilled immigrants.

Those shifts were “unfair” and created a risk of “unnecessary costs and complications,” the CEOs said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

“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 U.S. competitiveness,” the executives said.

H-1B visas
The letter, dated Wednesday, was coordinated by the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based policy and lobbying group consisting of top U.S. chief executives. It was first reported by Fortune.

It 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.

“The Trump administration is limiting the admission of high-skilled foreign nationals, even though economists believe America greatly benefits from the entry of foreign-born scientists and engineers,” the Arlington, Virginia, group said in its brief.

In their letter, the CEOs said that the Department of Homeland Security was allowing inconsistent applications of policy in case reviews and was was failing to tell workers what information they need to submit, creating uncertainty for workers. The executives also complained the department has in some cases started deportation proceedings after denials even among current workers who “have complied with immigration laws and intend to promptly depart the country.”

The roundtable, which Dimon chairs, released the letter “on behalf of the CEO members” on Thursday. Others executives who signed included Doug Parker of American Airlines Group Inc., Laurence Fink of BlackRock Inc., Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com Inc. and Omar Ishrak of Medtronic Plc.

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