Tech companies rely heavily on H-1B visas to hire foreign talent. In 2017, Amazon, Microsoft, Accenture, IBM and Deloitte were in the top 20 employers hiring H-1B visa holders. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, has said his company may be forced to move jobs out of the United States if work authorization for H-4 visa holders is revoked.
Critics say that companies use H-1Bs to replace U.S. workers with lower paid foreign workers.
But for people concerned that the U.S. is losing its competitive edge on a global scale, the hurdles being put in place for H-4 holders is a troubling sign.
In addition to hurting Silicon Valley and other tech centers, these sorts of actions will also cause people to think twice about studying in the U.S., said Hiba Anver, an immigration attorney.
Sachdev and her husband are considering what to do if she can no longer work in the U.S.
He’s now an engineering manager at Facebook, and they own a home in Los Gatos, on the southern end of Silicon Valley.
“If the work authorization is taken away and we go back to being a single income family, mortgage payments will become a lot scarier,” Sachdev said. If that happens, “it’s very likely that we will decide to leave the country,” she said.
The couple also want to have kids but have to put that on hold until they have more certainty about their future. Until the administration makes a final decision, it’s a matter of waiting and watching.
“You’re at the mercy of what the administration will do,” Sachdev said. “It’s not fun.”