You must have read about President Donald Trump signing an executive order on Friday, which stopped the admission of refugees and indefinitely banned the admission of refugees from Syria. It also stopped citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The order also includes any green card and visa holders from these countries. It means, any citizen of these countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. Libya, Yemen, and Somalia) being outside of the U.S. at the time the order went into effect, are now barred from entering the United States for at least the next three months.

The latest update is the Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of New York has handed an early victory to those challenging President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants and travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. She granted a stay that would prevent the government from deporting immigrants currently detained in airports around the US.

What is the Immediate Reaction of the Tech World?

It is going to affect the large Tech Companies who has global workforce employed with them. The American Civil Liberties Union has already filed a legal challenge to the order. The major technology companies are sharply criticizing President Trump. The companies warned that this action could impair the ability of America’s top companies to compete.

Mark Zuckerberg and Sunder Pichai have given strong reactions against this executive order and are worried about bringing great talent to the US from different countries. The immigrants are part of many IT Companies in the US, and the ban might impact these technology companies who hire skilled employees from across the globe. Microsoft is also afraid that the limited immigration might affect their business.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, suggesting at founder Steve Jobs, a Syrian immigrant, said the company would have never existed without immigration. Tim Cook is also against the policy of a ban on foreign nationals. These companies are trying to expand their wings all over the World, and any such policy is going to impact their business.

While Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings openly criticized the policy and it is painful for many of their employees who are deeply hurt by President Trump’s actions. Another tech giant, eBay founder Mr. Omidyar, mentioned that he is a child of Iranian parents and the order as bigotry. It is not clear right now as what is the decision about freelance gigs working for these companies.

Who is affected and who is not?

Anyone with U.S. citizenship, whether that person in natural-born or naturalized is not affected by this executive order. For next 120 days, the order bars the entry of any refugee who is awaiting resettlement in the U.S. It prevents refugees from Syria to enter the U.S. until further notice. It bans the citizens of the seven countries mentioned above from entering the U.S. in any visa category. It includes those individuals who are permanent residents of the U.S. who may have been traveling overseas to visit family or for work, though they can individually apply for consideration.

The order also targets individuals of those countries who hold dual citizenship with another country. For example, an individual who holds both Iraqi and Canadian citizenships, but it does not apply to individuals who hold U.S. citizenship along with citizenship of another country. In short, the U.S. citizenship holders are not affected, but anyone else is affected in some or other way.

Why were these seven countries chosen?

There is a visa waiver program for 30 countries to enter the US for short stay. This waiver does not apply if a citizen of an eligible country has visited these seven countries on or after March 1st, 2011. These individuals have to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate. These seven countries are part of section 217(a) (12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) of the U.S. code. It is the reason, why these particular countries are on this list.

Trump’s US immigration ban imposed against nationals from these seven Muslim-majority countries, is according to his presidential campaign statements to limit Muslim immigration in the US. In a week’s time from swearing oath as President of US, Trump has ordered a ban on people entering the US from these countries and stopped the entry of Syrian refugees, as part of measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States.

What is the impact on Tech World?

The number of permanent residents from these countries is relatively small. Iraq and Iran are two countries who make up the majority of U.S. permanent residents from among the seven nations, which together have 500,000 permanent residents in the U.S., according to ProPublica. These seven nations account for 40 percent of the U.S. refugee intake.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai asked scores of staffers traveling overseas to return to the United States immediately. Pichai in his company-wide memo addressed the criticality related to Trump’s action, saying it could prevent at least 187 foreign-born Google employees from entering the United States.

There is likely to be an impact on the thousands of tech workers living in Silicon Valley or abroad by Trump’s executive order. These employees are the immigrants working at companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft. The Green card holders are also at risk. The workers from other Muslim countries which are not a part of this order right now are also worried thinking that they may be the next ones and can impact the freelance jobs also.

Google, Microsoft, and all other major tech giants are criticizing US ban on foreign nationals as the people at leading executive positions to employees, thrusting upon immigrants are going to take a hit. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook and Sundar Pichai, are in opposition to President Trump’s US immigration ban as well.

We have to wait and watch on what is the next step the President is going to take after so much of criticism, opposition to his order and stay by the court. One more unanswered question is about the freelance work provided by IT companies to contractors from these countries.

Kitty Gupta