You’re 23 years old. You’ve got a computer science degree, maybe from Stamford or MIT. You’re wondering about going into tech and you’re wondering about going into finance. Thanks to Donald J. Trump, it looks like both of those industries are going to be competing for you harder than ever before.
It’s all down to the H1-B Visa. While it’s clearly too early to know exactly which policies President Trump will implement, campaign-trail-Trump was pretty explicit about bringing H1-Bs to an end. “I know the H1-B very well. We shouldn’t have it, it’s very, very bad for workers,” Trump said in March. “It’s unfair to our workers and we should end it.” He went on to promise that this would happen with one to two years of his election, pending a period of “evaluation.”
U.S. companies use H1-B Visas to hire non-U.S. citizens into graduate-level roles when they can’t find enough local expertise. The visas can be used across roles in technology, or banking, or banking-technology. Employers haven’t been able to get enough of them. When H1-Bs were last made available in April 2016, employer applications for the visas exceeded the entire year’s supply of 85,000 within just five days.
In finance, the eFinancialCareers Resume database suggests workers on H1-B visas are mostly to be found in the technology function, with a handful also in accounting, HR quant and risk roles, and IBD.
If Trump goes ahead with his threat to nix H1-Bs, the implication is that banks and Silicon Valley will have to compete even harder for young U.S. technologists. That could be interesting. J.P. Morgan already has a Manhattan ‘digital office’ with an acoustic jamming room and green zen benches. Post-Trump, it may have to raise its game.