They forget that more than half of techonlogy companies had a foreign born founder.
If these idiots had their way, probably many technology companies (which make about 17% of the US economy) wouldn't had existed today.
I am all about have good filters, to let the smart people (that there is a need for) in, and give them full rights of movement/freedom (no H-1B shackles), but just kicking people back home is a recipe for future economic malaise.
And one of the senators that is raising a big ruckus is from Alabama! (I the bottom of the barrel in technological terms). I hope people stop listening to these populist voices, unless you want your country look more like Alabama.
It kinda looks like a version of:
First, a recent repot on the H1B visa showed that 6 of the top 10 users of this visa were Indian outsourcing companies - using the visa to cycle a worker through the US and then back to India. Of the remaining four in the top 10, two were US based outsourcing companies. According to Ron Hira, some of these companies were paying their "critical workers that couldn't be filled with Americans at any price" a $12/hr wage! I don't think it's fair to lump talented engineers with this sort of program, but this is the sort of thing that sounds almost designed to rouse populist anger. Here you have Microsoft and Google claiming that the cap is too low - but then you see that most of these visas are snapped up by non-US companies that are mainly interested in moving jobs offshore as quickly as possible. That screams for reform, but instead, the response was always to just lift the cap even higher.
People often point out that a high percentage of tech companies have one or more foreign born founder. Andy Grove and Sergey Brin are often mentioned. However, these folks didn't come to the United States on a work-related visa. The US takes over 1.2 million immigrants a year - and many of these folks become founders of tech companies. To me, this would imply that we don't need an H1B visa to keep the pipeline open - our existing immigration system is already bringing plenty of talented folks here.
We need reform, badly. I think it's very important that the US be open and welcoming to top talent from around the world. But I think we instituted a program that pretty much enabled employers in the US to fire ordinary US citizens and replace them with ordinary foreign nationals under the guise of bringing in "Best and brightest."
We need intelligent reform (which should not, in my opinion, amount to unlimited visas for anyone who wants one). But instead, we may throw the baby out with the bath water. This is what happens when the powers that be fail to reform an obviously broken system to the point where populist anger takes over.
The quote from Ron Hira was on an NPR dicussion program...
Stupid HR drones sent back five CVs and mine wasn't among them. I had to sit down and interview these poor guys without hinting we were wasting their time. And while everyone I interviewed could have done my job, the amount of time retraining would add more overhead
I would be interested in knowing how big this industry is.
Appears then that another potential solution would be to create more American born PhD students in the relevant fields.
How can we do that? How long will it take? How much will it cost? What position has the power to put something like that together?
Really, this idea that people should prefer people who happen to be in their "own" "nation" is rediculous, nationalism is rediculous.
Why does any of that exist?
No American can get this job. Only the guy the company wants to get a visa/green card for.
In Texas, the jobs have to be advertised and this demonstrated to the Texas Workforce Commission.
This second check is more of a "okay, so let's double-check". And yes, of course the advertisement is overly specific- haven't you seen job ads recently? When ads usually have that long list of requirements, they are usually advertising for a green card. Someone who occasionally interacts with mySQL suddenly is a mySQL master and so forth.
It works like this:
1. Company hires guy that is foreign. Some are coming from abroad (unfortunately some are coming from the "sweatshop" factories from india), while many, like myself, come young and were educated in the US, and are usually pretty good at what we do.
2. Foreign guy has max 6 years of staying in the country. He needs to get something done. He has already friends, maybe a gf/bf, maybe a house. He is fully integrated, and wants to get a GC, so he is not amymore a "second class human being". Company likes foreign guy, as he is very productive/good, whatever, so they file for GC>
3. In order for the Green Card process to go on, the company has to demonstrate that there are not americans that want the job. They will have to advertise in the news papers, and internally in the company for 60 days. If there are any suitable american employees, the process stops. The american guy doesn't get hired, (why would a company let go somebody that is already proved to be a good engineer?), but foreign guys application stops.
4. Most companies want to keep the foreign guy/girl. He/she is already proven, so they will try to make the position available as closely to mirror what the guy's experience is. There are clear limitations, as by law they can't request things that are unreasonable (like foreign languages, or experience/education that is not revelant for the work).
This is a clear example where the "Laws" are out of whack with the reality and needs of companies.
If there have been layoffs in the company for hte past 6months, it becomes even harder for the process to move forward.
Now, you can say, well there are plenty of US workers that just need a little retraining blah blah lbah.
Well, let me give you a clear example. I am a mobile engineer. Been working on the field for 6 years (since the first java phones came out). My official title is "Senior Software Engineer", but that doesn't really tell the story of the huge experience that I have accumulated this years, with trial and error.
Imagine a startup, advertises my job. A US person that has maybe few months of experience or no mobile experience at all,and his title is "Senior Software Engineer" doesn't necessary make him more qualified.
you can claim, well the company should take the time and "train him", as it is the patriotic duty to do it.
I say bullshit. An early stage startup might not even survive wihout the product for the whole year that this guy needs the training.
I'd rather have a startup hire somebody that can get product out, and be able to hire more people later, than hire somebody that doesn't know what they are doing, just because they happen to be American, and risk everybody's job.
Sorry, but that is very un-american.
If you want to just completely stop foreign talent, you are just Detroiting silicon valley. Technology companies will start looking exactly like govermernt/defense companies (where you have to be a us citizen to work, in most cases). Everything comes late, and over budget, and eventually, in a global economy, they will just die.
Please remember, a lot of smart people got burned after the dot-bomb. It's not like that sat around for a few years waiting for work to pick up on the internet. A lot of engineers went into defense, unlike the bay area, they pay in cold, hard cash. You rarely ever hear of a defense company going under.
Think about it, ALL startups in the silicon valley, COMBINED (even with Facebook's 15 billion evaluation), are not worth not even 10% of the 530 billion dollars a year that is the defense budget.
You're comparing the valuations of software startups with the entire operating budget of the military? You first need to discount salary, equipment, maintenance, etc, all costs not relating directly to software.
A more realistic comparison would be comparing the defense budget to the entire economic output of the bay area. Even then it's apples and oranges.
I know several smart people who could do my job working for defense companies.
But I make more money than most of them. Like most jobs, there is always a tradeoff between stability and money.
Seems like it would be foolhardy for it not to be..
Similarly, when I moved to the US on an L1-B, my company needed to claim that I had very specialist skills that couldn't be filled locally (which arguably I did). However the specific skills that they claimed I had were BS, period. It's a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Sounds like an additional solution would be to make more American born PhD's in the technical fields.
How is you make college cheaper, you reward productivity, you forget no child left behind and start thinking about providing advanced opportunities for the gifted children.