Tens of thousands of tech workers could be affected by Donald Trump’s next executive order.
Under the order, Trump will reportedly target work-visa programs that tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Infosys use to bring skilled engineers and other tech talent into the country. The overhaul would require companies to attempt to hire American workers first. If they did recruit foreign workers, priority would be given to the highest-paid, in an effort to open entry-level positions to Americans.
Among the programs targeted, the most popular is the H-1B program, which is used mainly by technology companies. In Washington state, tech firms sponsored more than 10,000 H-1B visa applications in fiscal year 2016, according to government numbers compiled by MyVisaJobs.com.
Microsoft led the charge, sponsoring more than 4,294 H-1B applications in the state. Amazon is second in the state, sponsoring 2,306 visas.
Nationally, all three companies placed in the top 20 employers who submitted visa applications last year. Infosys held the No. 1 spot, having sponsored 25,405 visas.
The H-1B visa program was designed to bring in highly-skilled workers, and in Washington, most of the average salaries top $80,000. Facebook, which only sponsored 112 workers in Washington last year, had the highest average salary of $150,723. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all topped $120,000.
On Monday, Amazon, Expedia and Microsoft announced their support of a Washington state lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order banning immigration from several countries in the Middle East and Africa. While leaders of these companies have vocally criticized that order, they have yet to respond to the draft order to overhaul the work-visa program.