Bay Area Council Statement on President Trump’s Plan to Extend Restrictions on Foreign Workers

Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman today (June 22) issued the following statement on President Trump’s plan to sign an executive order extending restrictions on visas for foreign workers.

“Further restricting high-skilled foreign workers will only hurt our ability to recover from an historic economic downturn,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Foreign workers contribute mightily to our economy and always have, creating new businesses and new jobs. It is estimated that increasing H1-B visas could add 1.3 million new jobs across many industries and income levels and add $158 billion to U.S. gross domestic product.

“Closing the pipeline of high-skilled foreign talent will have a particularly devastating impact on our innovation economy. More than half of all billion-dollar startups in the U.S., including companies like Uber, Tesla and Slack, have at least one immigrant founder, have created an average of 1,200 jobs per company and have tallied a collective value of $248 billion.

“Reducing skilled immigration both makes our companies less competitive and increases the likelihood that if the right skills can’t be found locally their jobs will move to countries such as Canada that actively welcome educated immigrants. Rather than limiting these drivers of economic opportunity, innovation and productivity, we should be doing exactly the opposite – expanding and accelerating the allowance of visas to get our economy back to full throttle.”

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