Irish billionaire, youngest in world, warns of Trump’s anti-immigration policies

People are less willing to move to the US due to turbulent visa process, Stripe co-founder claims.

John Collison of Stripe
John Collison of Stripe Flickr

John Collison, the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, believes anti-immigration fear-mongering from the White House will ultimately impede the United States’ position as a hub for tech businesses.

The Stripe co-founder told the BBC that the US will lose out on talented people due to a turbulent visa process and political climate.

"People are less willing to move to the US," Collison told the outlet, as he confirmed that Stripe had ran into difficulty "luring top talent” to its Silicon Valley base.

The 27-year-old, who founded Stripe with his brother Patrick, added that Brexit may result in a similar position for the UK, as workers are deterred from relocating.

Read More: '60 Minutes' set to make Irish billionaire brothers world famous 

He urged the UK powers-that-be to act carefully and ensure they foster an open approach to prospective immigrants.

"They don't even want to enter the visa process because of the perceived political climate here (in the US) and how welcoming it is to immigrants and I think the perception (of the UK) will also make it harder to recruit in the UK.”

"What's done is done but what I think we can now affect is the perception of the UK as an attractive place to live, work and do business, " he told the BBC.

"It's something we are screwing up in the US and I think there is a very clear opportunity to send a message that the UK is a good place to emigrate to."

"There is a juxtaposition between an outward, global, technology and export-based economy on the one hand and the anti-immigrant signals from the US and Brexit,” he added.

After the BBC interview was published, Washington Examiner columnist Tom Rogan retaliated with this article: Sorry, BBC, a 27-year-old Irish software billionaire won't persuade Trump's base to support more immigration 

"My issue here is not that Collison is wrong, but that the BBC is being delusional in expecting that the billionaire's message will alter attitudes in Trump's base. After all, the binding narrative of Trump’s presidential campaign and his current rhetoric sits on the idea that the working class has been betrayed by elitists who serve only themselves," Rogan writes.

Appreciating both sides, Rogan goes on to say,"Yes, we want to attract highly-skilled talent to our country. And yes, we should always be receptive to those like Collison who can invest in our economy. But these individuals and their media purveyors also need to be more realistic: If they’re trying to persuade others to their viewpoints, they need to understand why those others aren’t listening to them in the first place."

The Collison brothers, native of County Limerick, recently set up a small European headquarters in Dublin.

"There are a few reasons. First, it's in the European Union, second, it's a real international melting pot with the skills we need and third it's a nice vibrant city to live in - there's more of a craic (more fun) in Dublin,” he explained.

Their online payments company currently employs over 700 people in California, over 100 in Dublin with just 25 in London.

The company was recently valued at of over $9 billion.

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