Tag Archives: legislation

Why US Congress Would Be Foolish To Pass Anti-Immigration & H-1B Visa Bill

I have read many articles in recent times since what is an anti-immigration and anti-H1B visa (and L-1 vis) legislation was submitted for debate in the US Congress.

The crux of the legislation is the ludicrous notion that 65,000 annual H-1B visas out of a workforce of over 150 million people (CIA figures) have helped be a major cause of the mass unemployment in the US. This equates to 0.4% of annual labor.

Then when you consider according to NASSCOM (National Association of Service and Software Companies), the average foreign engineer on H-1B visa only stays in the US for 2 years which is not even the full term of an H-1B visa which is 3 years.

Suddenly you see how ridiculous all this is and the arguments put forward by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) like;
“Some claim that the H-1B program helps to create American jobs, but it is currently being used by some companies to outsource American jobs to foreign countries.”

are all just an anti-immigrant and H-1B visa ruse to distract the US public from who is really to blame for the current  economy.

1. US Politicians who were in bed with corporate America and taking their kick backs, campaign contributions and gifts and providing little or no oversight over mass corruption and breaking of the law

2. US Corporations headed by US Executives (mainly in banking and financial sector) who engaged in practices that would mildly be described as extremely reckless while profiting individually regardless of the damage to their own companies or the general public who engage with them and economy as a whole

3, US Consumers for entering into mortgages they could not afford and racking up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

It almost reminds you of that Simpson’s episode where Mayor Joe Quimby distracts the public blaming the high taxes on immigrants and the public believes it. The sad thing today is that this is real life and not an animated cartoon on Fox.

For arguments sake lets suppose there proposition that the H-1B visa and immigrants are really taking jobs away from US citizens are argue that statements on its own merits by looking at the facts.

Duke & Harvard University Researcher Vivek Wadhwa who did a study for the Kauffman Group found:

  • Half of all Silicon Valley engineers are foreign born, up from 10 percent in 1970, where US innovation for the last 4 decades has stemmed from Apple and Microsoft to Yahoo and Google
  • About 40 percent of all U.S. patents go to immigrants.
  • These immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2005.

To  go further if that does not convince somebody Yahoo, Google, Sun, Intel, Audiovox, Qualcomm, and eBay – were founded and led by immigrants whose successful companies today employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Imagine if all those brands were Chinese, Indian or Heaven Forbid to many Americans, even Arabic where many of these hard working entreprenuers and innovators are from. Would the US even be in it’s top place in the world today?

The study also found that many of the highly educated foreigners who came to the US for undergraduate, graduate and PHD degrees to the top universties in the US paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and spending each are chosing to return home because of the difficulty in obtaining an H-1B visa & more alarmingly the greater entrepreneurial opportunities back at home.

The New York Times recently profiled a young engineer for Google, Sanjay G. Mavinkurve, an Indian-born, American-educated entrepreneur who helped write the code for a website that would become Facebook. But now, Mr. Mavinkurve, who once proudly displayed an American flag in his college dorm room, must work in Canada because visa rules make it impracticable to move his wife and family to the United States.

Let me leave you with these final thoughts;

  • When Google built their moster Googleplex in Silicon Valley that seems to grow every day, how many American contruction companies and contractors built, extend and maintain that facility every day.
  • When the tens of thousands of Yahoo employees in Burbank go out for lunch each day to local eateries owned by hard working small businesses owned by Americans, how many US families does that feed.
  • At times like the upcoming Mother’s Day or Christmas, when millions of people all over the world purchase off eBay.com and eBay collects all that fee/commission revenue flowing into the US and then pays say 30% tax on their profits, how many roads does it build, young children does it feed and healthcare does it provide for (including Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley!!)

President Obama has signalled he doesn’t want the US to become an inward, protectionist nation. Well lets hope for all US citizens that holds true and this legislation does not pass as it would the first big dagger into US innovation and supremacy leading the world!


H1B Visa Update & The Issues Ahead For US Companies

As it currently stands now into May, the USCIS has issued no further update to their April 20 H-1B Visa Update whereby about 45,000 H-1B application have been received along with 20,000 H-1B applications for the US Masters Degree additional quota.

Some are now saying given the slowness of the process that this cap could still be not filled up to the 65,000 H-1B visa quota by September for FY2010. This poses a very real danger.

In 2001, the H-1B visa quota was 195,000 and following the dot com bubble burst, that quota was not filled and a short US recession followed of course with may in the IT sector losing jobs. It was soon after that the quota was reduced to the current 65,000 H-1B visas issued annually level with the later addition of 20,000 for foreigners with US Masters Degree Holders.

At the same time of course the new H-1B visa legislation (and L-1 visa for that matter) which is essentially anti-immigrant in its language and not so subtly seeks to restrict the ability of US companies to hire foreign workers on H-1B visas and L-1 visas.

Chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), said if this proposal passes in the current format then it will have a fairly disastrous impact on the IT sector.

This should give you an idea: the number of H1B visas applications filed by the top-three Indian multi-national IT companies . TCS has reportedly applied for 600 visas, a little less than half of last year’s 1,539 visas. Wipro applied for 1,000 visas this year, compared to 2,500 visas last year. The sharpest fall has been for giant Infosys. It has applied for 400-500 visas for FY09 compared to 4,500 filed last year.

You have to bear in mind this is only 85,000 work visas in total so a tiny fraction of the entire US workforce. For some giant US companies it is not even enough workers to staff just their own entire company. However when giants like this are reducing their intake and H-1B friendly employers like Microsoft are publicly stating their numbers of foreign worker applications to appease bigoted and idiot politicians you there is an issue.

The Founder, Chairman & MD, Head Hunters said “Costs in the immediate short term are going to increase. That is because companies will have to hire more locally, also finding the right kind of talent at the right time is going to be a challenge.”

Industry watchers point out that fewer H1B visas filings could also lead to the shrinking of the H1B visa cap, which at present is at 65,000….similar to what happened right after the dotcom bust when the no of visas shrunk from 195,000 to the present levels.

Over half of the Silicon Valley start-ups were pioneered by foreigners and people like Greenspan called for both a temporary worker program for low-skilled jobs and for an increase in visas for highly skilled workers.

Noting the “very large participation” of undocumented workers in both low- and high-skilled jobs, he said, “if you were to remove either of those groups, the economy would be very much in trouble” and not have any signs of the recovery it is now.

President Obama and the G-20 summit in March stated the US would not become protectionist in their economy but if this H-1B legislation would pass it would do just that as it would essentially restrict the free market and put tarrifs and barriers to hiring talent.

NASSCOM also dispelled the notion that this is not in general a temporary worker program as the average engineer on an H-1B visa spends about 2 years working in the US. Given the taxes they pay, the spending of themselves and often a family plus the skills they employ, the only universal benificiary is the US economy and her citizens.

Of course polticians like Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley would never admit to this!!