Silicon Valley to feel impact of Trump’s H-1B visa order

  • Silicon Valley tech companies hire tens of thousands of workers on H-1B visas every year.
  • On Monday, Trump issued a proclamation halting a range of visa programs until the end of 2020.
  • H-1B visas are one of those affected, and the tech industry will be affected keenly.
  • Last year, Google and Amazon were granted around 9,000 applications for H-1B visas each, while Microsoft had almost 6,000.
  • Government data shows just how hard hit the various big tech firms will be by the order.

Silicon Valley will be hit hard by President Donald Trump’s new order suspending a range of US visa programs.

The tech industry hires tens of thousands of workers every year on “high-skilled” H1-B visas — one of the categories of visa that was halted by an order from Trump until the end of 2020, sparking immediate frustration from tech leaders. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he was “disappointed by today’s proclamation.” Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, labelled it “unbelievably bad policy on every level.”

US government data reviewed by Business Insider reveals how many H-1B visas were granted to some on Silicon Valley’s most prominent tech companies in 2019 — illustrating just how keenly they will feel the affects of the order. Google was granted applications for more than 9,000 H-1B workers last year, for example, while San Francisco-headquartered Salesforce brought in more than 1,500.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification publishes annual reports on the hundreds of thousands of applications for H-1B visas, including information for each application like the company that filed it, the type of job it is for, and whether it was accepted or rejected by the US government. (The totals below only include accepted applications that were not withdrawn. The exact date range is from the start of October 2018 to the end of September 2019.)

Google was granted 9,078 H-1B visa applications over the year. Amazon got slightly less — 8,937. Microsoft had 5,925 successful applications, Facebook had 2,657. Salesforce had 1,572, Apple got 1,496, and Tesla had 813.

There are only 85,000 H-1B visa spots open in the US each year.

Tech firms have begun to issue statements condemning Trump’s order. In an email, an Amazon spokesperson said: We oppose the Administration’s short-sighted action. Preventing high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America’s economic recovery puts American’s global competitiveness at risk.”

Twitter, meanwhile, said: “This proclamation undermines America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity. People from all over the world come here to join our labor force, pay taxes, and contribute to our global competitiveness on the world stage.”

Are you on a H-1B visa? Contact Business Insider reporter Rob Price via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 650-636-6268), encrypted email (, standard email (, Telegram/Wickr/WeChat (robaeprice), or Twitter DM (@robaeprice). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by standard email only, please.

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