Traditionally, top technology experts have been able to gain entry to the United States with an H-1B visa. However, entry for holders of such visas has been blocked or significantly impeded during President Donald Trump’s term in office. This has created uncertainty among tens of thousands of technology experts who have applied for visas, providing Europe with the opportunity to boost its competitiveness by attracting them to Europe.
“Europeans should now be reaching out to people in difficult situations,” urges Rasmus Roiha, CEO of the Finnish Software and e-Business Association. Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, CEO of Helsinki Business Hub, challenges European metropolitan areas to take joint action: “We want to challenge European metropolitan areas to join us in attracting these world-class experts to our cities, to boost competitiveness and create jobs in Finland and all over Europe.”
”This is an unfortunate situation from the perspective of U.S. technology companies. The H-1B arrangement has contributed to the success of companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and countless others. A huge number of top experts around the world have now been left out on a limb. The situation is going to continue at least for months and the President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t told yet, whether he’s going to make changes concerning it”, says Rasmus Roiha, describing the state of affairs.
Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, CEO of Helsinki Business Hub, understands what such experts would bring: the excellence and growth that the Helsinki metropolitan area, the entire country and the whole of Europe need.
“We launched our own ’90 Day Finn’ campaign — to attract technology experts — in early November, and received about 3,000 applications in under a week,” says Niinikoski. “There were more respondents and interest than we could cope with. That is why it is important to join forces with European metropolitan areas to offer technology experts the opportunity to work in — and for — Europe. We challenge European metropolitan areas to join in with their own campaigns,” Niinikoski continues.
“So let’s invite the technology experts spurned by Trump to come to Europe! This is a unique opportunity for a huge leap forward in competitiveness across the EU. There is a massive shortage of world-class digital development experts in Finland and across the EU. It is impeding corporate productivity, and thereby the competitiveness of EU countries and European wellbeing on a broader basis,” Roiha points out.
The United States issues 85,000 H-1B visas each year, reflecting just a small percentage of the applications. Due to the strict criteria used, only the very best experts, on a global basis, are granted H-1B visas. Potential of this kind is now available to the EU from all over the world. With the will to do so, we could bring experts to Europe while observing coronavirus precautions.
”Our own campaign involves a three-month introduction to life and work in Helsinki,” says Niinikoski. “We offer experts selected via the campaign help in settling down in Helsinki and applying for a residence permit if they decide to work and live in the city,” she adds. For further details on the “90 Day Finn” campaign, see www.90dayfinn.com.
Rasmus Roiha, CEO of the Finnish Software and e-Business Association, +358 400 180434, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, CEO, Helsinki Business Hub, +358 40 538 4541, email@example.com
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