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A Majority of IT Leaders Believe Trump Administration's Executive Order to Reform H-1B Visas Makes Skilled Talent Less Available, More Costly

Despite potential challenges, two-thirds will not delay product development or innovation investment, Harvey Nash survey finds

NEW YORK - April 26, 2017 - Just days after the Trump administration issued an executive order to reform the current H-1B visa program toward a goal of reducing American reliance on skilled foreign labor, many senior IT executives expressed concerns of its impending impact. According to a Harvey Nash Pulse Report released today, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of companies with 50+ developers believe the current H-1B visa program as is has been successful in meeting their needs to access highly skilled IT talent. However, 61 percent of U.S. IT leaders with large development teams say the proposed changes will make skilled IT talent less available. Moreover, 68 percent of companies with 50+ developers report these proposed reforms will also increase the cost to hire skilled IT talent.

Despite the potential challenges the executive order will bring, two-thirds (66 percent) of all respondents will not delay plans for product development and 61 percent will not stop investing in innovation as companies must strive to remain globally competitive.

While there is clear agreement on the effectiveness of the current program to meet U.S. companies' needs for skilled IT talent, leaders are split on whether the current program hurts American IT workers (50 percent say yes, 50 percent say no). Despite mixed feelings on this point from businesses, domestic talent could benefit from H-1B restrictions. With a shrinking IT talent pool, U.S. workers are likely to experience higher wages for in-demand development positions.

"The short-term effects of the proposed H-1B visa program changes are that employer costs will increase and more jobs will be shipped offshore," said Harvey Nash USA President and CEO Bob Miano. "Domestic supply of IT talent can't change overnight - that takes years, and only if there is an increase of STEM graduates. U.S. companies will, over time, see an increasing demand vying for a fixed supply of talent. The results are that costs will go up, talent will stay in their home countries, and the U.S. will be less competitive on the world stage."

While agreeing there is potential negative impact of these H-1B visa reforms to their organizations, IT leaders will explore alternative strategies to source labor:

• Fifty-nine (59) percent of companies with 50 or more developers will consider offshoring as a solution.
• Close to half (49 percent) of those same companies will increase the acquisition of direct hires over IT contractors, compared to just 35 percent of firms with smaller development teams.

Harvey Nash's Pulse Report on the impact of proposed reforms to the H-1B visa program utilizes data from an online survey of IT business leaders. A total of 174 responses were received from U.S. IT leaders working in more than 20 different industry sectors. For the full survey findings, click here.

About Harvey Nash Inc.
Harvey Nash Inc. is the U.S. division of the Harvey Nash Group, a global professional recruitment firm and IT outsourcing service provider traded on the London Stock Exchange since 1997. Harvey Nash has helped over half the world's leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With 7,000 experts in 43 offices across Europe, Asia and North America, Harvey Nash has the reach and resources of a global organization, and it fosters a culture of innovation and agility that empowers all employees across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. Harvey Nash works with clients, both big and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: IT recruitment, IT outsourcing/offshoring and executive search. To learn more, please visit Follow us: and


Ann Warren