Feb 14, 2018

Foreign workers: in demand, and anxious

Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty

At a time of a federal crackdown on immigration, American companies say they need more foreign skilled workers to fill open positions, and that they are offering generous perks to attract them. But workers abroad are increasingly anxious about the environment in the U.S., and are pushing back, according to a new survey.

Quick take: Last year, half the companies surveyed by Harris for Envoy, an immigration services firm, said they expect to increase their foreign hires. This year, the number is 59%. But a third of their candidates are so anxious over U.S. immigration policy that they either refuse to accept, or won't start work until their visa is approved.

According to Envoy CEO Dick Burke, 42% of the companies surveyed report that foreign hires are anxious about getting through the immigration process, and 35% say individual visa cases are in fact becoming more difficult.

  • As a result, a number of workers are just staying home, he said. "They say, 'My own country is modernizing. I will just stay home because it's not worth the anxiety whether I'll get back into the country,'" Burke said.
  • The candidates saying this are primarily from China, India and the Philippines.
  • Impact on work: 26% of companies are delaying projects because of uncertainty in immigration.

"The talent gap is real. We need to check but not to throttle innovation in the United States," Burke said.

Go deeper

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

Trump privately scolded, warned by allies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.