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Will H1-B visa holders be safe under a Trump administration?

Since the election of Donald Trump, whose campaign contained a good deal of anti-immigrant rhetoric, people of all nationalities who are living and working in the U.S. are understandably nervous as they wait to find out how much of that rhetoric will result in action that could endanger their place in this country.

Among those people are the many employees working at high tech jobs in Silicon Valley who are here on H-1B visas. Of course, H1-B visa holders reside all over the country, including here in Georgia.

The tech industry has become reliant on highly-skilled foreign workers. Tech leaders had been seeking to expand the H-1B visa program, which is used to bring these workers to the U.S. The number of people with H-1B visas has increased over the past few years.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has an immigration lobbying group called FWD.us that reiterated its goal just after the election to remain "fully dedicated to an America that values immigrants." Now, that goal could be at risk.

While Asian immigrants weren't a key target of Trump's anti-immigrant vitriol during the campaign, they're not off his radar. In an interview with his now-chief strategist Steve Bannon on Breitbart News last year, Bannon expressed concern about the number of Asian immigrants working in Silicon Valley, while Trump noted about those who came to the U.S. to attend our Ivy League schools that "we have to keep our talented people in this country."

Over half of all technology start-up companies in this country were started by immigrants. The heads of Google and Microsoft are immigrants. If America becomes an unwelcoming place for tech savvy immigrants, companies could move to Canada.

For now, H1-B visa holders and the companies that employ them must wait to see what happens to them under a Trump Administration. In the meantime, it's essential to make sure that your documentation is current. If you have any questions, an experienced Georgia immigration attorney can help you.

Source: The Verge, "Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance threatens the heart of American innovation," Nick Statt, Nov. 11, 2016

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