Duolingo, one of the world’s most popular language-learning apps, is all about connecting with the world.
Donald Trump, president of the country in which Duolingo was founded and is headquartered, has no such ambition.
Part of Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy means making it more difficult for foreigners to obtain working visas. Even if they’re qualified. Last month, he suspended a visa program that would have made it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to seek employment in the United States, including computer programmers and other skilled workers.
The move was considered “a full-frontal attack on American innovation and [the] nation’s ability to benefit from attracting talent from around the world,”
This obviously puts a lot of companies at a competitive disadvantage. It’s a concern Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn, who is from Guatemala, voiced recently on Twitter:
Duolingo is Pittsburgh’s first billion-dollar startup and employs more than 200 people. And there’s plenty of reason to believe other prominent companies are considering a move up north.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto responded to the Tweet by echoing Ahn’s concerns:
It remains to be seen if we can poach Duolingo or other American companies, or if this is just another one of those I’m moving to Canada threats.