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U.S. companies aren’t trying to hire as many foreign tech workers since Trump’s election

Foreigners are accepting U.S. interviews at increased rates.

Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Following President Donald Trump’s election in the final quarter of last year, there has been a steep decline in the number of interview requests sent by U.S.-based companies to foreign technology candidates, according to new data from Hired, a job website.

In the first quarter of 2017, 46 percent fewer interview requests were sent to foreigners on the platform compared to a year earlier. Though interviews have picked up a bit in the last quarter, American companies still offered nearly 40 percent fewer interviews to foreign tech workers than in Q2 2016.

The decline likely has to do with uncertainty about the future of immigration policies. “Like with Brexit, any time there’s a big change at the government level, people are reluctant to make hires they can’t keep,” Hired's CEO Mehul Patel told Recode.

Foreign tech workers’ interest in U.S. jobs, however, hasn’t abated, as shown by an increase in their acceptance rate of job interviews. Hired places people in tech positions such as software engineer, product manager and data scientist. The company, which has about 10,000 participating companies and 1.5 million job seekers, logs all communications between potential hires and hiring companies, which is how it has measured the change in interview requests.

In the U.S., there’s a persistent shortage of science, tech, engineering and mathematics workers, and tech companies say they need foreign workers to fill skills gaps. Trump most recently signed on to an effort to decrease the number of green cards that the U.S. issues to foreigners. Earlier this year, he called for a review of the H-1B program, which tech companies use to hire highly skilled foreign workers.

Getting more qualified workers in those areas will take time and education to be filled solely by American workers. Patel describes the engineering shortage in the U.S. as “acute and ongoing.”

Stricter immigration rules could become an issue in which the U.S. is not only missing out on new talent, but seeing talent that’s already here leave.

According to Hired’s survey of 362 tech workers that was conducted in addition to its proprietary data, 60 percent think the Trump administration will have a negative impact on the tech industry, and nearly a quarter say they are less likely to start a company in the U.S. as a result.

Additionally, 40 percent of survey respondents have considered relocating after the election, with a third citing Canada as their top destination.

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