If US travel ban crushes Silicon Valley, can China and Singapore pick up the pieces?

This article was published by South China Morning Post on February 3, 2017 and features commentary from Reaz Jafri. 

Shaken by scenes of detainees at US airports, skilled tech-industry workers around the world are shopping around for more foreign-friendly places to contribute. After studying chemical engineering in Canada for four years, Ali Nikdel was eager to start a new life in the United States. He was looking forward to joining the vibrant US engineering community and the 35-year-old already had a job offer lined up.

But just months before his graduation, Nikdel, an Iranian, abandoned his plan. Why? The executive order issued by President Donald Trump last week that banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, Iran included, from entering the US for at least the next three months.

“I won’t consider it even after they lift the ban,” said Nikdel, a postgraduate candidate at the University of Waterloo, about relocating to the US. “I don’t feel secure [living] in a country [which] reminds me of populist policies I was suffering in Iran.”

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