Tech industry cautiously welcomes U.S. Senate immigration bill

“Tech industry officials welcomed a bipartisan U.S. Senate immigration bill on Tuesday, saying they hoped it would make it easier to hire highly skilled workers from abroad, while laying the groundwork to renegotiate portions they oppose,” Alina Selyukh reports for Reuters. “The bipartisan ‘Gang of Eight’ group of senators released highlights of the bill, backed by President Barack Obama, that seeks to reform the immigration system and nearly doubles the quota for H-1B visas for skilled workers.”

“For months, the tech sector has ratcheted up pressure on the U.S. Congress to make highly skilled immigration rules more flexible, arguing that there are not enough highly skilled American workers to fill its growing number of specialty job openings,” Selyukh reports. “The bill did not propose raising the number of H-1B visas as high as 300,000, as big tech companies had sought in the past, but it would allow the cap to rise to as high as 180,000 in future years, and sets aside 25,000 such visas for graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.”

“Most companies and tech groups, including the new group FWD.us formed by Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg to lobby on the issue, withheld comment awaiting a review of the full text of the bill,” Selyukh reports. “‘We’re very encouraged that they produced a bill and we see a lot of positives, but we do have some concerns we hope to see worked out,’ said Dan Turrentine, vice president for government relations at TechNet, a group representing such companies as Google Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Apple Inc. and Yahoo! Inc”

Selyukh reports, “Tech companies will be watching several provisions in the bill that risk becoming hindrances to prompt hiring, including new requirements to pay H-1B visa holders higher wages and to recruit American workers prior to hiring foreigners.”

Read more in the full article here.

16 Comments

  1. Of course they welcome it. They are “corporatists” who, along with other special interests, bought and paid for this latest legislation and wrote portions of it themselves in fact, to serve their own self interests – not America’s interests.

    They are also the ones who wrote portions of our trade agreements and used their stooge puppets in congress and the White House to “sell the farm” to emerging markets, to escape red tape and costly regulation here in US, as well as higher wages. We now have “unfair trade,” not true free (two-way free) trade. No wonder job growth is deficient.

        1. Equals unskilled labor. Most came across the border and to balance that number we need highly skilled workers. But, that number is greatly limited due to the requirements imposed by regulations they must abide by.

      1. Then if what you say is true, then companies should be required to pay foreigners on H1-B MUCH higher wages. After all they can’t find anybody smart enough in all of the USA to do this job, so it is only fair that the person being hired to get his fair pay, and companies shouldn’t mind paying extra for somebody who is better than anyone they can find in America. Why would a company complain about that?

        Of course, if they actually had to pay more for the so called “best and the brightest” they would immediately find that the American workers are not so dumb after all, and all of this hiring of the “Best and the Brightest” from around the globe would stop immediately.

        1. Or the top 5 percent of the world, including America. We live a very “wealthy” life compared to most of the world. We are the top percent of the world and yet American’s do not appreaiate their status. Just be aware that the world speaks of American’s in the same context.

  2. What this bill allows is the systematic firing of qualified american tech workers. They will be replaced by foreign workers at slave wages with slave contracts. Perhaps with the higher numbers the corporations can also replace other staff to further improve “efficiency”. Not only are we exporting jobs, we now import unemployment.

    1. You’re mistaken.

      I was an H1-B visa holder. It’s a pain for the employer to hire an H1-B before a local employee. The employer needs to file a lot of paperwork AND play all the fees for the H1-B application.

      Also, the wage needs to be at least the minimum the State sets for your position. So, there’s no “underpaid”. I made pretty decent money, got raises, and was at the level of every local employee.

      Third, if, for any reason, the employer lets you go, he need to cover all expenses of the visa holder to move back to his country. And that by itself is a big expense.

      So, the hard fact is, most companies try to avoid hiring foreigns, unless the foreign person is technically more skilled than any other applicant.

      In the end, the process is legal and it’s “free market”: Those with a better product get the job. I don’t know why people complain so much about H1-B’s. Oh, and us H1-Bs pay taxes we don’t get any benefit from: We pay Social Security, Unemployment, etc. All that money goes to the US citizens. We don’t get any benefit out of it.

      H1-Bs pay taxes and bring something to the table. Shouldn’t that be the right way immigrants should enter the USA?

      1. @Griftterus

        Well, since you were on H1-B and you believe that you had skills that no other worker in the US can fill, then you wouldn’t mind the rules changing so that all people on H1-B get a 50% pay increase over and above what the rate is for an American.

        It is fair to people like you since you are better than the Americans over here, and it is fair for the company because they are getting what they pay for. That would be true “free market” would it not?. How would you feel about that? Shouldn’t you have gotten paid way more than the minimums required since you were “more skilled than any other applicant”?

        Will you join me in a petition to have the pay requirements raised for all H1-B workers? Surely you will want to fight to make sure all these foreign workers who are more highly skilled than any other American get paid their EXTRA share for the ADDED talents that they bring.

        1. Shouldn’t all foreign workers get paid more than Americans? Since they do jobs Americans are too lazy or ignorant to do, regardless of status. Will you join us in a petition for both unskilled and skilled foreign workers of legal or illegal status so we may improve the life and families both domestic or foreign? Support those willing to work!

          1. Actually I agree. All foreign workers brought here by a corporation because there is no qualified American should get paid more. It guarantees first that the highly qualified person gets paid what they deserve, and it also guarantees that, low-skilled workers won’t be brought in to replace Americans because no company will want to pay extra for someone of lower-skill. This does benefit Americans. We get the “true” high skilled worker, and none of the cheap labor replacement workers.

            The illegal immigrants are a different matter. Technically they shouldn’t be here, and any rule governing their pay will be ignored anyway.

            Children born here or brought here should be treated as Americans because it is only fair. What did they do wrong, why should they be ejected from the only life they’ve ever known, but adults who break the law, shouldn’t be hired at all. A common sense approach such as this would be fair to those who are here due to no fault of there own, and would also force Adult workers to return home and respect our laws. We do have laws don’t we, and this is our country isn’t it? — or is our country just a business and all Americans are just “employees” to be used on an as needed basis, with all foreigners having just as much rights to our school, hospitals, roads, and government as we do?

      2. I’m not sure any state sets a minimum wage for an engineer or scientist, other than the general $7.50 an hour. I’m sure the employers are paying a handsome salary with respect to the visa holders home economy.

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