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Statement from British-American Business Connections on U.S. Visa Suspensions


June 25, 2020


Catherine Filippini


Statement from British-American Business Connections

on U.S. Visa Suspensions

(SEATTLE) In response to the United States extending a freeze on a range of immigration visas including H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas, British-American Business Connections Chair, Richard Biggs said:

“As the representative Pacific Northwest chapter of U.S. and UK member companies committed to transatlantic trade and investment, we firmly believe that the ability to deliver prosperity for our nations and Pacific Northwest region is tied to the ability to attract the best, and most skilled workers from across the globe. We therefore disagree with the U.S. Administration’s decision to restrict legal, temporary immigration for the purposes of work and study, and strongly encourage the Administration to reconsider this action.”

“The COVID-19 health crisis needs to be contained and travel restrictions have understandably been part of the public health response. However, any restrictions on travel and an open and vibrant environment for labor mobility should be temporary and removed as soon as the health risk allows.”

“Moving qualified workers across the Atlantic is an essential part of the trade and investment calculation which businesses make. This process does not take employment opportunities away for local citizens; on the contrary, it attracts investment and creates jobs in the United States. It enhances innovation. It fosters cultural exchange. It strengthens the bond between allies and friends. Companies across the world, including many in our Pacific Northwest region, rely on the ability to move workers to support their global operations. Halting this process will be harmful to their ability to recruit talent and support business operations. It also serves to reduce job creation and slow economic growth.”

“We call on the U.S. Government to create processes to allow all those with already approved visas to enter the country, to help Embassies around the world inform applicants and businesses, and to review and reconsider this decision to ensure the success and progression of our global and regional economies.”


Additional Facts, Figures & Resources

  • The economic relationship between the UK and U.S. is significant – transatlantic trade in goods and services are $304.2bn (2019).

  • Over 42,000 American firms export to the UK and more than 7,500 U.S. companies have operations in the UK.

  • U.S. affiliates employ over 1.2m people in the UK and UK affiliates employ over 1m people in the U.S.

  • UK investment spans across the entire U.S. Every single American state has jobs that are connected or originated from an investment by a UK company.

  • The U.S. and UK share one of the largest bi-lateral investment relationships in the world, valued at over $1.2tn.

  • The UK-U.S. relationship is a source of prosperity and security. Direct investment in each other’s countries supports almost 3m jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, and many more indirectly.

  • Global trade has been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19. The UK and U.S. economies are intertwined – we are each other’s biggest investors, biggest services trade partners, and our bilateral trade in goods and services is significant More trade is essential if both the UK and the U.S. are to overcome this economic challenge. New free trade agreements will be an important part of long-term economic recovery for both countries.

  • Trade & Investment Highlights:

  • Washington & the UK

  • Oregon & the UK

  • Idaho & the UK

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