More than half of tech workers on visas say they'll simply look for work outside the US if Trump's H-1B ban forces a choice


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  • More than half of tech workers in the US on visas say they'd just look for work outside the US if affected by Trump's visa ban.
  • The president has suspended the H-1B visa program, along with others, amid the pandemic.
  • In a poll of 1,000+ workers on visas, just 7% said they'd try to get a different visa if they'd affected.
  • More than half said they'd either return home or move to another country — a big win for non-US tech hubs, and a major potential loss to the American tech sector.

In a recent survey of more than 1,000 tech workers in the US on visas, more than half said they'd look outside the country for work if they are affected by President Donald Trump's sweeping crackdown on visa programs.

After Trump announced the suspension of multiple US visa programs, including the in-demand H-1B visa popular in Silicon Valley, anonymous work-focused social network Blind surveyed its US users as to whether they're on work visas and, if so, what they intend to do.

A little more than 1,000 users said they were on a work visa — with the majority of those saying that if they're affected by the bans, they will look outside of the US for work.

Just 7% of respondents on visas said they would attempt to apply for a different, unaffected visa. Thirty-four percent said they would look for a job in a different company, and another 24% said they'd return home to look for work in their home country.

Silicon Valley is highly reliant on high-skilled foreign workers, particularly those on H-1B visas, employing tens of thousands of workers every year under that program. Blind's polling illustrates the degree to which that foreign labor would readily consider moving overseas to continue working — and the loss that might cause for America's tech industry.

On the flipside, it also makes clear the significant opportunity that Trump's bans may present to tech hubs around the world, from London to Tel Aviv, to snap up talent unable to move to or stay in the US.

There are limitations to Blind's data: It's opt-in, and it can only survey people who use the app, which may not be reflective of the broader professional population.

Even so, it indicates an ambivalence among some foreign workers toward remaining in the US tech sector that could have significant consequences for it and other countries' industries in the years ahead.

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SEE ALSO: Trump suspended most work visas until the end of the year, but US embassy closures around the world have already been keeping workers from getting them

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