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When we talk about the H-1B visa program under Trump, the conversation is almost always around governmental policy changes or proposals. Now we have a better idea of how all the maneuvering is actually affecting tech. In the most recent HackerRank DevSkills report, tech pros were asked about the impact of U.S. immigration policy on them or those they knew. A large percentage (43.74 percent) found the questioning not applicable, suggesting they were simply U.S.-based candidates with no connection to the H-1B visa program (or any other visa program tech pros may take advantage of), and didn't know anyone involved in such programs. But almost 25 percent (24.48 percent, specifically) said recent U.S. immigration policy has discouraged them or someone they know from applying to jobs in the United States. Nearly one-fifth (17.20 percent) were unable to get a visa to work in the United States. These two figures, combined, show that roughly 40 percent of tech pros have been affected by U.S. immigration policy changes. While this data isn’t unique to the H-1B visa, that visa program is most often used by foreign tech pros and U.S.-based tech companies that hire talent from overseas.

H-1B Affects Tech Recruiting, Too

When it comes to recruiters, the same two data points are relevant. U.S.-based hiring managers report hiring tech talent has been “more difficult” with immigration policy changes. Around 30.43 percent insist the changes Trump’s administration has set in motion make things difficult; only 14.36 percent of global hiring managers report the same, which suggests domestic changes are helping foreign tech recruiters find and retain their local talent. Around 12.56 percent of U.S. hiring managers say policy changes have discouraged them or someone they know from applying for jobs stateside. This data-point isn’t dissected further, but it suggests many people who would otherwise apply for an H-1B or similar visa no longer wish to. Globally, the percentage of hiring managers who report they or someone they know were discouraged from applying to a U.S.-based job skyrockets to 27 percent. We should point out that HackerRank asked the same question of tech pros and recruiters/hiring managers, and it’s more than likely recruiters are offering details on candidates more than their own, personal experiences with U.S. immigration policy changes. A third data-point that stands out is the number of candidates unable to obtain work visas in 2018. Only 5.56 percent of U.S.-based recruiters and hiring managers say they’ve experienced candidates having issues obtaining work visas, which is relevant to those candidates already here who are simply renewing their visa. Globally, 18.41 percent of hiring managers say they’ve experienced candidates having issues obtaining work visas. This category follows the same disparate ratio as those workers reportedly discouraged from seeking a visa to work in the United States. While the Trump administration’s H-1B stance has been reliably polarizing, this data shows it has also been effective. Foreign tech pros are discouraged from applying for visas; and when they do apply, they're often unable to obtain one. Recruiters are finding it harder to discover talent, which many tech pros stateside will point to as evidence of a flaw in the system; those who feel slighted by tech recruiters often feel they’re simply being overlooked as recruiters hunt for overseas employees.