While Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban has triggered protests and chaos in US airports for passport holders from seven countries, Australian tech leaders have warned the situation has a flow-on impact for everyone doing business in the USA.
HotelsCombined chief executive Hichame Assi, who has been in Australia since 2008 and is a British-Syrian dual national, is a high profile victim of the Trump ruling.
“I’ve been informed that I am now not allowed to go to the US for the next 90 days, even though I have a valid visa in my British passport,” he revealed today via industry group TechSydney.
“These developments in the US are not only disruptive to our business and our people, they’re very troubling and are creating more tensions at a time when empathy is required.”
Assi is now anxious for all staff of Australian tech companies like HotelsCombined that have operations, suppliers and customers in the United States.
Trump signed an order over the weekend banning anyone — including those with “green cards” that signify US residency – with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
Assi said his business employed people from around the world, including dual-national Australians.
“We’re grateful to be based in Sydney, which has provided an inclusive, welcoming environment for me and for the diverse HotelsCombined team,” he said.
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes backed Assi’s concerns, saying he would protest any law that doesn’t support those values.
“I am shocked and saddened by the impact these restrictions could have on not only Atlassian employees and their families, but all citizens whose dignity is being trampled,” he said.
“Atlassian is proud to be a global company with employees from all over the world. We have worked hard to attract the most talented people from across the globe because we believe diversity of thought is critical to our success and helps us create the best possible products for our customers.”
TechSydney called on the Turnbull government to “do everything it can” to reduce the impact on Australians that may be impacted by Trump’s order, which has attracted condemnation from groups across the political spectrum, including other Republicans.
“Sydney’s tech community is diverse and includes people who have fled terror in other countries to find sanctuary in Sydney and set up businesses that employ people locally and all over the world,” said TechSydney CEO Dean McEvoy.
“We’re concerned about the impacts of these new US immigration restrictions on the lives of everyone, including members of our community.”
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said today that he would not “run a commentary on the domestic policies of other countries”, while treasurer Scott Morrison said the rest of the world was “catching up to Australia now” on border security.