There is an inclusion issue in the technology industry. According to the Google 2020 Diversity Report, 73.3% of leadership roles belong to men and 65.9% belong to whites. These numbers are common to tech companies and show the continued dominance of white clubs in the industry.
Immigration is one way to overcome this culture of monopoly. Today’s digital businesses thrive in inclusiveness and accessibility, so bringing talent from around the world can ensure a fresh perspective and innovative solutions for any business. Immigrants should facilitate this process, but modern problems have created barriers to the evolving relationship between technology and diverse talents.
Understanding this relationship and its implications after 2021 will help guide the technology business on the path to greater success and inclusiveness.
Where technology and immigration overlap
The best way to understand how immigrants are important to a successful technology company is to first understand how immigrants add value through diverse perspectives and life experiences. In fact, nearly 45% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.
These numbers alone are a strong proof of innovative thinking made possible by incorporating different perspectives and personalities. Fortunately, the United States has a system in place to encourage these innovative thinkers and allow them to enter and work in the country. When the system works, it enables the empowered technology industry to be fueled by immigrants.
Visas are available to all types of technical workers, from entrepreneurs to temporary workers. These include:
EB-5 Visa: This visa type allows immigrants to start a business in the United States, but typically requires an investment of at least $ 1.8 million or $ 900,000 in the employment area covered. H-1B Visa: This visa is specifically for professional workers such as technical engineers and software developers and requires sponsorship from a US employer. L-1 Visa: For temporary workers with specialized knowledge, an L-1 visa allows them to work for a period of time in the United States. B-1 Visa: This visa allows you to travel, help you network and discover talent.
These options allow technology companies to find and hire qualified candidates from around the world. However, the modern technology environment creates challenges in this process. From politics to pandemics, everything has changed the playing field and evolved the relationship between the technology industry and immigrants.
The former presidential administration has hampered fluid and widespread immigration. The impact was felt in the tech industry, both in terms of looking for new talent and retaining certain discoveries. After that, a coronavirus occurred.
Travel was often banned or postponed in an effort to fight the virus. Even visa programs like H-1B were put on hold, and tech companies like Apple and Google responded in protest. Coronavirus required a rapid evaluation and redo of its business continuity plan to address everything from these travel and employment challenges to the overall work process.
But now, the relationship between technology and immigrants is changing again. The Biden Harris administration has extended the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program, overturning travel bans in Muslim-dominated countries. This is a move celebrated by Google and other large tech companies, making it much easier to scrutinize the global tech talent pool.
With new political leadership and an economy that is now centered around remote work processes, its talent pool appears to grow. Tech companies can extend the hiring process, provide visas to workers in wider countries, and look for talent outside of geographical boundaries.
Many countries are actively welcoming remote workers. Despite the variety of legal requirements, COVID-19’s change in work permit abroad makes it easier to live and maintain a job anywhere in the United States. Technology companies can use these developments to expand their recruitment process and build a diverse pool of talent that can tackle modern challenges.
However, there are still barriers to a smooth and diverse hiring process.
Barriers to a smooth process
The modern technology industry faces all sorts of challenges, from cybersecurity to global warming. Fortunately, some technology companies are addressing these challenges and promoting programs and innovations aimed at addressing global issues. Unleashing talent from around the world through both immigration and broader remote work accessibility helps develop technical solutions to all kinds of problems. However, much work still needs to be done to pave the way for the future.
Gender and racism remain a major issue for the diversification of technology disciplines. This is clear from simple demographic figures alone. Without breaking these barriers and removing racist and sexist attitudes from the workplace, a smoother immigration process alone is not enough to generate innovation.
2021 will undoubtedly be an easy time for tech companies to make efforts to hire through immigration, but the issue of monopoly rights remains unresolved. Technology companies make expanding their horizons a New Year’s priority if they want to be truly open-minded, ethical and feasible.
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