(This article originally appeared in Axios on January 19, 2018)
TechNet, a group of tech CEOs and execs, is urging the Trump administration to preserve the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would grant temporary visas to foreign-born entrepreneurs starting businesses in the U.S. Although the administration’s effort to delay the Obama-era rule was unsuccessful, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to take steps to rescind the rule.
In a letter to DHS yesterday, TechNet also expressed concern about the future of visas for the spouses of high-skilled workers and visa extensions for students studying STEM subjects, as well as ending the DACA program. The group cited a few stats:
- Immigrant entrepreneurs have started more than half of U.S. startup companies that are valued at $1 billion or more.
- Immigrant founders have created an average of about 760 jobs per company.
- One study estimates that the IER rule could create up to 308,460 jobs over 10 years.
Why it matters: Scaling back or ending these visa programs would have a major ripple effect for the tech industry, the companies say, leading to “significant economic costs” and more unfilled jobs. Trump, however, has said American workers should be considered first for some of the jobs filled by visa-holders. While some companies are making efforts to train Americans for some of the persistent openings (Google, for example, announced a certificate program for entry-level IT workers), filling that pipeline won’t happen overnight.