Tech Giants Get High Approval for Work Visa

In a report by Silicon Valley Business Journal, it seems top tech companies have been successful at getting visa applications — including the popular H-1B work visa program for specialty occupations — approved. For global mobility managers, that’s a piece of good news, considering the tight restrictions imposed on work visas under the current administration.

Silicon Valley tech giants reportedly saw 98 to 99 percent or more of their H-1B visa applications approved last year. These companies are Apple, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Intel Corp, and Facebook. For example, Apple reportedly put in 711 applications for new H-1B visas in 2018 and got 698 approved.

Why such a high approval rate? It may stem from the fact that immigration officials often ask for additional information that help companies follow requirements and the paperwork needed. The H-1B visa program is open to foreign workers who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and work in a field where employers struggle to hire American workers. The program is popular among large tech companies.

Tech companies, however, are the favorite targets for imposing restrictions on work visas, although they not many know that even Hollywood gets work visas for their talents–an example overlooked because people are entertained by them.

Not many are aware that tech workers build platforms — games, utilities, apps — which are also entertaining. A simple search for Hollywood work on Indeed generates results, but some are not listed there because they’re high profile listings provided by movie outfits, and prepared by studio lawyers.

The point is to get an A-list actor from somewhere around the world to suit up for their next big role or project. An H-1B visa may be faster but eventually, the O-1 visa is the preferred visa of established artists with extraordinary ability or achievement. California Corporate Housing has housed actors in one of its corporate apartments.

A globally focused organization need to keep this in mind ahead, as the current administration will continue to step up scrutiny of the H-1B work visa program.

Hiring the best talents worldwide is very common now, but that is only because even if they are merely hired in the US, there are simply not enough in terms of getting a foreigner’s perspective — and companies do need the international perspective, because they’re businesses are global, as most tech businesses are.

In advertising, there are three labels for different types of residents — the first-generation resident, the 1.5-immigrant and the second-generation American. The first-generation immigrant came from their home country to the States as adults, the 1.5-immigrant came to the States when they were small children, and the second-generation American was born in the US but from a different ethnic background.

Companies are aware that those generations all come from different cultural backgrounds and they need them all to gain insights to be able to target them effectively, globally. It’s time to acknowledge that diversity is actually good for anyone’s business.

Employers prefer not to state this obvious reason so as not to cause friction with the government, but the opportunities are there–both for companies and the talents. Many tech companies in Silicon Valley and other parts of the country know the world is their marketplace. It’s that simple.

So there’s the noble reason for doing so and the infinite rewards of marketing their products and services globally.

Let’s use Hollywood as an example again. Do they have more diversity in their movies? Do they need to market to the world? Yes, on both accounts, allowing some wiggle room for improvement, of course. There’s “Star Wars: Rogue One”, which broke the mold with a mostly non-American cast (Asians and Europeans) actors. It’s marketing, compelled to acquaint a new generation of viewers to the Star Wars universe.

A UCLA report even determined that a movie with a 41-50 percent non-white cast can perform better in the global marketplace– a stark contrast to age-old prejudices that global audiences did not care for films starring performers from different countries.

This disproves the conventional wisdom that one can’t have a film with a minority lead, because it’s not going to travel well overseas—and films make most of their money overseas, to paraphrase Darnell Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, which produced the study and who Variety at the time.

Companies are only too willing admit there is a shortage of tech talent, because it’s also mostly true; other than being more noble, it’s more immediate. Still, there’s reluctance in terms of giving the many different reasons for hiring diversity. About 70 percent of employers simply say that a global workforce is important to their talent strategy.

For this reason, US-based employers turn to international labor pools to fill critical workforce needs, because it actually faces a tech talent shortage. Still, it’s dealing with the subject like they’re walking on eggshells. Many are avoiding the political backlash of hiring foreigners. Who wants to rock the boat?!

For America to stay competitive, companies know they need all the talents they can get to market to the world. However, they also know that they can’t say this out loud, because the world is easily triggered by atypical methods to success.