Tim Cook, and 58 Other US CEOs Call Out Trump For ‘Disruptive’ H1-B Visa Policy


A group of chief executive officers at the largest US companies expressed serious concern about the Trump administration’s immigration policy and said the rules increase uncertainty and undermine economic growth. It could “disrupt” operations of American firms and inflict “substantial harm” on their competitiveness. Due to a shortage of green cards for workers, many employees find themselves stuck in an immigration process lasting more than a decade.

In a letter to US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, members of the Business Roundtable, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi, President and CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga and Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems Chuck Robbins said that confusion around US immigration policy “creates anxiety for employees who follow the law.”

The executives said that many of their employees were now facing uncertainty due to issues such as ‘inconsistent immigration decisions’ that would likely curtail work permits for spouses of skilled immigrants. Those shifts were “unfair” and created a risk of “unnecessary costs and complications.” Inconsistent government action and uncertainty undermines economic growth and American competitiveness.

The CEOs said, to avoid unnecessary costs and complications for American businesses, the US government should not change the rules in the middle of the process, pointing out to the several policy memoranda over the past year by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued that has resulted in “arbitrary and inconsistent adjudications”.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. Indian IT companies have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the H1-B visa programme over the years.

The reality is that few will move their family and settle in a new country if, at any time and without notice, the government can force their immediate departure–often without explanation. The group has called for increasing the number of H-1B visas and letting people with advanced STEM degrees from American universities qualify for a green card immediately.

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.