January 16, 2019

Trump executive order prompts Google to recall staff

topGoogle has recalled travelling staff members to the US after an executive order from President Donald Trump restricting entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries.
Syrian refugees are banned from entry until further notice, the order says.
Visas for nationals of six countries, including Iran and Iraq, will not be issued for the next three months.
Google has told the BBC it is concerned about the order and any measures which could block great talent from the US.
President Trump’s order could mean that thousands of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya may not be allowed to board flights bound for the US.
The new restrictions will have a major impact on technology companies that hire skilled staff from all over the world on special H1-B visas.
There have already been reports of “green card” holders, who are allowed to work in the US, being prevented from getting on flights. However, green cards are not specifically mentioned in the executive order.
Mr Trump said the measures detailed in his executive order would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”.
But rights groups say there is no link between Syrian refugees in the US and terrorism.
The sudden and severe immigration restrictions imposed on passport holders from seven Muslim countries could seriously demonstrate the law of unintended consequences. The president wants to restrict some Muslims but the effect could be to damage America’s most important and profitable sector: technology.
Google has recalled around 100 of its affected staff from overseas. Microsoft has warned its shareholders that curbs on immigration could have a material impact on its business.
The technology sector relies heavily on highly skilled and well-paid workers from overseas on H1-B visas. If there’s a risk, however small, that that brainpower could be restricted in some way or scare off others who may feel unwelcome, the big tech companies may have to rethink where they place their key staff in future.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee advised nationals from the affected countries but living in the US not to travel abroad.
A petition organised by academics in the US opposed to the executive order includes the signatures of 11 Nobel laureates.
Some Republicans have welcomed Mr Trump’s announcement, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, who said it was “time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process”.
The new policy is also affecting visits from relatives.
An Iraqi journalist living in the US, Mohammed al-Rawi, posted on Facebook, saying his father had been turned away from a Los Angeles-bound flight in Qatar.
Jamal Abdi from the National Iranian American Council told the investigative journalism organisation Pro Publica: “We are inundated with calls and questions of how this is going to affect people.”
The Council on American Islamic Relations says it will file a lawsuit against the executive order.

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