Building Walls Against Smart, Talented, Skilled

By December 12, 2007Human Resources

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Europe is rolling out the blue carpet for foreign-born high-tech workers.

The European Union recently proposed a “blue card” for skilled workers around the world.

In the land of opportunity, the U.S. has stiff limits on high-skill workers and is moving toward further restrictions.

That has U.S. business groups worried.

Companies, especially high-tech ones, rely heavily on immigration to bring them the best and brightest talent. They look to immigrants for new ideas and sometimes to start companies. Loss of this source of talent could hurt U.S. industry.

The H-1B visas allow in foreigners who bring skills not readily available domestically, people who often studied in the United States. Right now there’s an annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visa workers, although Congress is permitting another 20,000 through a temporary expansion.

The NAM is a member of the Compete America Coalition, formed to encourage the bringing of needed talent into the United States, people who unquestionably contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Admittedly, H-1B visas tend to provoke heated discussion, as they’re often lumped in indiscriminately with other immigration issues. Some people claim they get replaced by the visa recipients, although the law is written to prevent that.

NAM President John Engler discussed the law at a recent forum on innovation sponsored by the Independent Women’s Forum. He noted that the cap on H-1B visas has prompted Microsoft to establish an R&D center in Vancouver, B.C., where foreign talent is more readily available. As Microsoft put it in their July release: “Microsoft is a global company, and our greatest asset is smart, talented, highly skilled people,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. “Our goal as a company is to attract the next generation of leading software developers from all parts of the world, and this center will be a beacon for some of that talent.”

The reality is, Engler said, 80 percent of manufacturing companies in the United States report difficulties in filling positions requiring technical skills, engineering slots included. The world is rapidly changing and some people’s skills have not kept up.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Dana says:

    Building Walls Against Smart, Talented and Skilled

    It’s called “cheap foreign labor”, indentured servitude for the green card in the sky.

    The walls being built are against 600,000 American STEM (Science, Technical, Engineering, Math) graduates every year who vie against 400,000 H-1B and 300,000 L-1 non-immigrant admissions every year for 120,000 new STEM jobs every year.

    The walls of age discrimination are also being built.

    What you are proposing is a violation of immigration law and the Constitution.

  • Roy Lawson says:

    The law is not written with any meaningful H-1b labor protections. Only “H-1b dependent” employers must recruit American workers – these are employers with at least 15% of their workforce on the H-1b.

    It is routine to post job ads in obscure listings in an attempt to circumvent the law. Here is a video of one immigration attorney describing just how to avoid hiring us pesky American workers:

    Here is a report on H-1b consultants selling the visas to the highest bidder:

    Here is Senator Bernie Sanders arguing in support of his legislation to curb H-1b abuse:

    NAM doesn’t seem to care about small consulting firms now required to compete with a vast supply of cheap and exploited labor subsidies. Also, you fail to mention that the H-1b cap only applies to about half of applicants. Most people entering under the H-1b visa are actually exempt from the cap. In short, well more than 85,000 temporary visas are issue each year – nearly 200,000 in fact. Then throw in the L1 visa. It is yet another source of temporary workers. Well, we call it temporary but the truth is that it can be extended indefinately if there is a pending application for a green card.

    NAM simply wants to exploit people and apply downward pressures on skilled labor salaries in the United States. Labor arbitrage is clearly the goal. Stop lying about this issue NAM!

Leave a Reply