Facebook vulnerable to expected changes in key visa program

Mon Feb 6, 2017 10:38am EST
 
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(This version of the story removes reference to mininum salary in 14th paragraph.)

By Stephen Nellis and Mica Rosenberg

SAN FRANCISCO/ WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Among Silicon Valley’s top tech employers, Facebook Inc FB.O could be the most vulnerable to U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected crackdown on guest-worker visas, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Labor Department filings.

More than 15 percent of Facebook's U.S. employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, giving the social media leader a legal classification as a H-1B “dependent” company. That is a higher proportion than Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Google, Apple Inc AAPL.O, Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O or Microsoft Corp MSFT.O.

That could cause problems for Facebook if Trump or Congress decide to make the H-1B program more restrictive, as the president and some Republican lawmakers have threatened to do.

Both Trump and Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions have opposed the program in its current form. They have also indicated that they are open to reforming it to “ensure the beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest,” according to a draft executive order seen by Reuters. Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft.

The Trump administration has not proposed any new rules that would target companies with the H-1B "dependent" classification. But the fact that Facebook alone among major tech companies falls into that category suggests it is the most exposed in the industry to any changes in H-1B visa policy.

Facebook declined to comment on the matter.

Trump administration officials could not immediately be reached for comment. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that Trump would target H-1B visas as part of a larger immigration reform effort through executive orders and Congressional action, but gave no details.   Continued...

 
A Facebook logo is displayed on the side of a tour bus in New York's financial district July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo