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US chipmakers lament slowing license approvals process for hiring Chinese nationals

Written by Luna Lin Published on 

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The slowdown could lead to companies losing “critical” candidates

The US government has been dragging its feet in approving the hiring of Chinese nationals by the nation’s chip majors since last year, limiting their access to talents fit for the semiconductor industry, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

Hundreds of jobs across the United States at major chipmakers – including Intel, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries – have been affected by the slowdown in the approval process, according to unnamed industry insiders cited in the story.

Companies hiring foreign nationalities to work on a list of sensitive technologies need to apply for so-called deemed-export licenses beforehand. While the approvals usually take a few weeks, it can now take a longer waiting period of six to eight months, which led to companies losing “critical” candidates, according to WSJ.

Meanwhile, Chinese tech companies like Huawei are cranking up their global talent search.

“Depending on one country [for semiconductor talent] is not enough. Although China is full of talents, we need to extend the search globally,” Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei told reporters in the company’s Shenzhen headquarters today.

Hisilicon, Huawei’s chip design house, is on track to become Asia’s largest chip maker by revenue this year.

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