One of the most common and ignorant arguments against the H1B visa program, is that it steals jobs away from local America workers, particularly at a time of 9 – 10% unemployment and in the immediate aftermath of the worst recession since the great depression.
However numerous independent studies by Vivek Wadhwa and others have shown that this is not the case and the influx of these (largely) high skilled immigrant and both filled skill shortages in the US economy. This is due to the very low amount of US students who study Engineering, Science and Technology degrees in College due to the higher degree of difficult associated with these disciplines.
The net effect to the economy has been hugely positive with companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple benefiting greatly from this high skill source of labor and their products and thus revenue benefiting the US economy as a whole.This is not even accounting for the fact that over half of all Silicon Valley start ups being founded by foreigners in recent years and the companies include the biggest and most well know brands like Google, Yahoo, eBay, Paypal, etc.
However according to the CEO of the NASDAQ Exchange, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Robert Griefeld told a US Senate hearing last week that according to the National Federation for American Policy says that for every H-1B worker requested, US technology companies increase their overall employment by five workers.
He went on to argue that “Reform must convey economic priorities about job growth and global competitiveness. Increasing H-1B visas is simply not enough. We need to admit and keep entrepreneurs here so that the creative dynamic of our economy is enhanced by the very best skills and minds,”. “Whether in Silicon Valley, Austin, Chicago, or anywhere else in the United States, I hear from CEOs that theH-1B visa system is inadequate for today’s human capital marketplace and the backlog for green cards and what they mean to the quality and the uncertainty of the lives of these foreign-born employees is a legitimate threat to their businesses.”
This is powerful language backed up by facts (rather than partisan short sighted rhetoric) coming from someone as successful and knowledgeable as Griefeld hopefully will sway enough in Congress to overhaul the current H1B Visa, L1 Visa, E3 Visa, F1 Visa OPT and Green Card process such that ultimately the US as a whole will continue to remain at the forefront of technology, new energy and the global economy.