Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai on Saturday criticised President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order against people from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying it will create “barriers” to bringing great talent to the US, as the internet search giant ordered its travelling staff to return to America.
Pichai in an email to staff said the US ban on foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries will hit at least 187 Google employees.
“We are upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Pichai as saying in the email.
“It is painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” he said.
Google has recalled around 100 of its affected staff from overseas, the BBC reported.
Earlier in the day, President Trump ordered “extreme vetting” of people entering the US from seven Muslim-majority countries and banned the entry of Syrian refugees until further notice, as part of new measures to “keep radical Islamic terrorists” out of America.
The countries impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
The controversial move, signed a week after he was sworn- in as the President, fulfils the vow Trump made on the campaign trail to limit Muslim immigration to the US.
“We are upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US.”
In his message to employees, 44-year-old Pichai, who grew up in India, suggested that at least 187 employees hailed from countries included in the ban.
“Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected,” he said. “If you are abroad and need help please reach out to our global security team.”
“We wouldn’t wish this fear and uncertainty on anyone and especially not our fellow Googlers,” Pichai wrote. “In times of uncertainty, our values remain the best guide.”
Immigrants make up much of the workforce in Silicon Valley, including many executive roles, and the tech industry has long advocated for more open immigration laws in the US, saying they need more skilled foreigners to fill technical jobs.
The new restrictions will have a major impact on American technology companies that hire skilled staff from all over the world on special H1-B visas, mostly used by Indian IT firms.
“There have already been reports of green card holders, who are allowed to work in the US, being prevented from getting on flights. However, green cards are not specifically mentioned in the executive order,” the WSJ said.
Microsoft has also warned its shareholders that curbs on immigration could have a material impact on its business.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also criticised Trump’s decision to severely limit immigrants and refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries, saying America is a nation of immigrants and should be proud of it.
“Like many of you, I am concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.