Skip to navigationSkip to content
A demonstrator holds a sign during a rally outside Wall Street in New York
But one industry still offers some hope.
NO PLACE

Trump’s America is growing increasingly hostile to foreign talent

By Ananya Bhattacharya

Companies in Donald Trump’s America have become more and more wary of bringing in foreign talent.

The share of US firms that plan to, or are willing to, hire foreign business management graduates in 2018 has dropped to 47% from 55% last year, according to the Corporate Recruiter’s Survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Over half of the American firms surveyed by the market intelligence and research firm said: “we do not hire such candidates.”

The current level of apprehension in the US is far greater than in other regions of the world, noted the survey, which polled 1,066 employers across 42 countries.

The resistance to hiring foreign talent is reflected in the crackdown on the H-1B programme, which allows high-skilled foreign workers to live and work in the US for up to six years. Since the Trump administration’s arrival, it has become tougher and burdensome for H-1B applications because of increased paperwork and higher scrutiny.

H-1B visa applications are getting rejected at a higher rate than before, and the growth rate of the optional practical training programme (meant for STEM students) is slowing down. And already fewer foreign students are enrolling in US universities.

While this survey only covered hiring for graduate students, the reluctance to hire foreign talent is visible across all roles. “We see a general dip in demand for H-1Bs,” said Poorvi Chothani, managing partner at immigration law firm LawQuest. Indians, who receive over three-quarters of the H-1B visa, are the worst-hit.

Typically, Indian IT outsourcing firms have been heavily reliant on the H-1B programme to service clients in the US—their biggest market. But these companies are now stepping up local hiring. Infosys plans to hire 10,000 Americans by 2019, while Tata Consultancy Services has already become one of the biggest job-creators in the US IT sector.

At the same time, firms are struggling with the non-availability of suitable talent in the US. “We have clients that have posted job openings on various portals for several months and have received almost no applications or highly unsuitable applications,” Chothani said.

Yet, as per GMAC data, there’s one industry that is still welcoming immigrant talent: Technology.

Already, companies like IBM, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are among the top contenders for the H-1B visa. And in 2018, the sector still remains the most accepting of foreign graduate hire.