Wednesday, 22 May 2019 08:10

US slows approval for Chinese workers in chip industry: report Featured

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US slows approval for Chinese workers in chip industry: report Image by bodkins18 from Pixabay

Government approvals for American semiconductor firms to hire Chinese citizens for advanced engineering jobs have been slowed down, a report says, adding that this is preventing industry from gaining access to much-needed talent.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the slowing down of approvals had begun in 2018 and was affecting companies like Intel, Qualcomm and Globalfoundries.

It was also preventing such companies from moving employees from branches in other countries to offices in the US.

The delay was making a significant difference because Chinese citizens formed a big portion of the non-American citizens hired for these jobs, the report said.

While in the past an approval would take a few weeks, delays of six to eight months were not uncommon now, sources told the WSJ.

There have been numerous reports in US media over the last few years about alleged theft of trade secrets by Chinese nationals.

Rules which govern the hiring of foreign nationals make it compulsory for companies to obtain licences before hiring them, as such jobs would give the employees knowledge about US technology which they could take with them when they returned home.

The US and China have been involved in a protracted trade war, with Washington insisting that China drop its insistence on technology transfers.

Last year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order blocking a deal between Singapore-based Broadcom and Qualcomm, over what were said to be national security concerns, but were better described as a step to prevent China from competing with the US.

The approvals are separate from the visas that foreigners need to obtain in order to work in the US and the degree of examination depends on the technology involved and the perceived degree of risk that it could be known to citizens of China which is considered to be an adversary by the US.

An industry insider told the WSJ: "There have been longer delays that have led us to lose candidates we thought were critical."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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