China-US trade tensions weighing on Silicon Valley jobs

Global Business

China-US trade tensions weighing on Silicon Valley jobs

U.S.-China trade tensions are tech companies are via higher prices for many components from China. But trade tensions may also be having an even greater impact on those companies by hampering their ability to fill important jobs.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

At universities across the United States, tens of thousands of Chinese students come to study engineering and technology with hopes of someday finding a job here. But some say growing numbers of students are not able to receive work permits.

“When we look at the number of students who are able to find those positions working in companies who are able to receive the work permits they need, we’re seeing a decrease in that. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of rejections from the U.S. customs and immigration services,” Peter Leroe-Munoz, VP at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said.

One of the hardest hit sectors is semiconductors. According to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, China imports nearly $300 billion worth of computer chips from U.S. companies annually.

Under U.S. rules, foreign nationals including Chinese, must get special licenses to work on sensitive technology like semiconductors. From 2013-2017, Chinese nationals accounted for more than 60% of the approved licenses, but Leroe-Munoz says whereas the approval process used to take a couple of weeks, it’s now averaging around six to eight months.

“It’s making it more difficult for companies to get the work they need right away. It’s also making the United States and Silicon Valley, in particular, less attractive as a destination for some of the smartest most skilled workers from around the world,” Leroe-Munoz said.

Leroe-Munoz’s Silicon Valley Leadership Group has more than 350 members, including top chip makers such as Intel and Samsung Semiconductor.

He said while members understand the security concerns, they also want the Trump administration to realize the risks and costs of losing out on long-term innovation.