The reason why this issue has been discussed is customer concerns about the geopolitical climate of the two countries.
Companies are using GitLab to host source code projects but also for their employees to work on the code by synchronizing it to a cloud-hosted server. In addition, companies are able to host their own version of GitLab locally, and have access to various features for businesses. If there is a problem, GitLab has specialised staff to help them customers.
The ban on hiring from China and Russia will have an effect two jobs: Site Reliability Engineer and Support Engineer. Employees at both of these locations provide technical support to GitLab's business customers.
These two important positions hold full access to customer data and that is exactly the problem. Customers do not trust staff coming from China and Russia because they fear they may share data with the services information of their countries.
A ban on hiring Chinese and Russian professionals is not a definitive decision. The conversations about this topic have been around for about a month. The final decision will be made on 6 November.
Discussions began after a report by CrowdStrike posted that hackers-spies from China, they recruited Western companies to help them steal data.
Many believe that both Russian and Chinese intelligence services could do the same to GitLab staff to steal customer data.
GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij said the company does not have staff from China or Russia in these jobs, so even if the ban finally comes into force, no workers will lose their jobs.
However, according to what they hear, the most likely scenario is the implementation of the ban.
In addition, if the recruitment ban is approved, staff in these support positions will not be able to travel to China or Russia.
The GitLab platform stressed that the ban only applies to these two jobs. The remaining positions will not be affected. In addition, the platform will continue to host code Russian and Chinese developers.