What's immigration good for? Many things, including bringing in a lot of talent.
Donald Trump's travel ban has left people in a lurch and desperate, worldwide.
The executive order bars citizens coming from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Libya from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and has immediately prevented all those seeking refugee status from entering the U.S for 120 days.
The drastic move is being criticized by media, business leaders and governments. And as the new reality sets in, some feel the tech industry in the U.S could be one of the first to suffer.
The fact is, some tech jobs remain hard to fill with Americans. In the U. S, companies rely on newcomers with temporary foreign worker visas to get the job done.
Last April, the Wall Street Journal reported on how H-1B visas were in extremely high demand .
Where does that leave Canada? We're embarrassed and frustrated by a neighbouring country that refuses to think and act compassionately, and furthermore, we're scrambling to grab that foreign talent now looking for a job.
Ottawa is hearing the call. A group comprised of founders from technology companies, Canadian executives and investors have issued a letter to the Canadian government calling on Ottawa to do its part and let people in.
The request has been signed by more than 200 industry players and asks that Canada give immediate temporary residency to people displaced by Trump’s entry ban.
"Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. Many Canadian tech entrepreneurs are immigrants, are the children of immigrants, employ and have been employed by immigrants,” the letter reads.
What is a terrible time for some could turn into an opportunity, for Canada.
The Globe and Mail quoted Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of BlackBerry Ltd, who is in agreement.
"Policies such as (Trump's) put everybody in the business community on edge because all global firms have a multicultural work force. But it's also an opportunity," said Balsillie.
"If Canada can quickly implement the global skills visa for tech talent, we can reinforce our country as the place to attract the best talent."
If we act quickly enough, great things could come. Like what?
Here’s a list of 5 tech giants America wouldn’t have if it weren’t for positive immigration policies:
1) Google’s Sundar Pichai- India
The current CEO of Google is a proud Indian- American. Sundar Pichai was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, to Lakshmi and Ragunatha Pichai.
Pichai joined Google in 2004. He was as key player in managing the development of Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive, and also oversaw the development of Gmail and Google Maps.
2) Tesla’s Elon Musk- South Africa
Elon Musk is one of the founders of Tesla Motors, the electric car giant headquartered in Palo Alto, California. He is also the leader for SpaceX , an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, and a co-founder of SolarCity, a solar energy service company.
Musk was born in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa, to Maye and Errol Musk.
3) Apple’s Steve Jobs- Syria
It’s often overlooked that the now infamous Steve Jobs was born to Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, a Muslim man from Syria.
If it weren’t for immigration policies that allowed Jobs' birth-father to complete his PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin, Jandali would have never met Jobs’ birth mother, Joanne Carole Schieble.
While Jobs was later adopted, if Jandali hadn't been in the U.S perhaps Apple and the iPhone would still be a dream.
4) Microsoft’s Bill Gates- UK
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was born in Seattle, Washington. U.S.A. Gates' parents were as well, but their ancestry can be traced back through immigrants who came to the United States from England, Germany, Ireland and Scotland.
5) Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg-Germany, Austria and Poland
Where would the world be without Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the mega-social media site is the grandson of immigrants who came to the U.S from Germany, Austria and Poland. Thank goodness for open doors.
As Forbes.com states ,
“According to the National Foundation for American Policy, 51% of U.S. tech startups valued at $1 billion or more have at least one immigrant founder .
Two of the three most valuable companies in the world are led by immigrants to the United States: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai (Google is the largest subsidiary of Alphabet). Silicon Valley leadership commonly has immigrant origins… Humans are at the heart of business.”