Daily Management Review

Global Impact on tech Companies by Trump’s Travel Ban


Global Impact on tech Companies by Trump’s Travel Ban
Global tech companies, including Amazon, are considering legal action because of the potential impact on their business of President Donald Trump's recent immigration ban barring citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries has prompted nationwide protests.
The ban has already thrown their life into chaos for some in Silicon Valley.
Onfido, a startup based in London with 145 staff globally, raised $25 million dollars last year to expand in the U.S. and where now it has 10 employees. Husayn Kassai, the CEO and co-founder at Onfido, which uses artificial intelligence to help clients carry out complex background checks, lives in San Francisco.
While holding dual citizenship in Iran and the U.K., he was born in Manchester. In fact, coming from immigrant parents including Iran, Iraq and Bangladesh are all three co-founders of Onfido, who are British citizens.
But, currently placed in London, another co-founder - Eamon Jubbawy, was born in Iraq and doesn't have a green card unlike Kassai.
Kassai says there's too much uncertainty to know if he will be leaving the country anytime soon even though the Trump administration clarified that green card holders are exempt from the immigration ban.
He says that the company's 145 employees consists of 41 nationalities he says. "Until the Executive Order, we didn't really care about who's from where or what religion they were, we didn't ask, but all these things have been a distraction and worrying," Kassai said.
He met with his general counsel on the Monday morning following the ban. "I need to decide by this week if I'm going to leave the country. I just need to check with the lawyers if I'll be able to come back."
He has a trade mission trip to Australia with the U.K. government and an upcoming trip planned to Mexico to meet with clients. To identify fast-growing tech companies, he traveled to India on a trade mission with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in November.
He makes regular trips to London for white board sessions with his product team, and meetings in-person with potential job candidates and regularly travels globally to speak at conferences, Kassai says. "If the co-founders aren't able to be mobile, it's like a company operating with one hand behind its back," Kassai said.
His company is big enough to have its own lawyer and general counsel and he considers himself relatively fortunate to have that. "I know some startups, they're just starting out with three or four people and the founder has a visa and is unsure if he can stay or not," he said.
And it is exactly here that help can be sought from organizations like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Following Trump's executive order, it has received more than $24 million in online donations, the organization says.
It mobilized volunteers at airports including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York this week to help, says a Persian Tech Entrepreneurs, a non-profit and non-political organization.
"This was so sudden that it didn't give the individual and companies time to legally understand this," Shobeir Shobeiri, the organization's co-founder said. 

"Our primary goal was to bring awareness on social media that there are lawyers willing to represent their family and friends who were impacted by this."


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