Uber revealed in its long-awaited diversity report today that 15% of its U.S. employees are here on H-1B visas. That is a significant portion of its workforce. To me, this revelation further calls into question whether CEO Travis Kalanick should have declined participation in President Trump’s economic advisory council. He left the council earlier this year after critics took his participation as an explicit endorsement of Trump policies. Now, Trump has drafted an executive order that would change work visas in a way that would require companies to try to hire Americans first, though nothing has been enacted. Given Uber’s stake in the foreign workforce, Kalanick’s departure seems like a missed opportunity to weigh in on these kinds of programs.
Uber’s ratio of employees with H1-B visas is comparable to that of IBM, one of the biggest receivers of permits for specialty foreign workers. Roughly 12,300 of IBM employees are in the U.S. on an H1-B visa, according to an annual report from MyVisajobs.com.